After every major closure for construction or maintenance work, two of the most important questions we ask ourselves is, “How did it go, and how can we make it better?”
Could we have communicated information better? Could we coordinate with other agencies better? Can we make traffic move more efficiently? Answering those questions are vital to our ability to get important work done while creating the least amount of disruption to the public as possible.
|Crews work on the fire detection system inside the Mount Baker Tunnel |
as part of the I-90 Two-Way Transit Project.
The changes won’t take away traffic congestion – you should still plan on leaving as early as possible and consider alternate routes – but it should address some of the major concerns.
The main adjustments we’re making involve clarifying how to access Mercer Island.
All traffic for Mercer Island must still exit westbound I-90 at East Mercer Way. During the previous detour, there was confusion for some drivers on Bellevue Way and on I-90 as to how to get to the East Mercer Way exit, leading some to drive through closed areas, which is never a good idea.
This time, we’re adding more signage to make it clear which lane I-90 drivers should be in for Mercer Island (the right) and for Seattle (the left). Bellevue Way drivers will be able to use their more familiar I-90 ramp that leads directly to East Mercer Way (last time they could only use the I-90 HOV ramp) and westbound I-90. We’ll also have extra law enforcement available to help clear collisions and remind people to not drive through areas that are closed off. Remember, we close those areas for a reason and going through them puts workers and drivers at risk.
|Extra signage and added law enforcement are some of the changes drivers |
will see to ease confusion during this weekend’s westbound I-90 detour.
Answering a few other common questions we've heard:
- Why is anything closed? I don’t see anyone working!: Much of the work is being done inside the I-90 tunnels, so much of the work may not be visible.
- Why can’t you open I-90 further down?: We’re also working under Luther Burbank Park so we need the closure where we have it for worker safety. We’ve made adjustments to merge areas and are keeping two lanes of I-90 open as far as possible to try to help with traffic flow.
- Will the I-90 Trail be open?: Yes, the trail will be open.
- Do you have dates for future weekend work?: After this coming weekend we have two more weekends of work scheduled, May 1-4 (eastbound) and 15-18 (westbound), then our contractor will take a break from the weekend closures until the fall.
This is the third of 30 directional closures of I-90 we’ll have for this project through mid-2017 and each one will be a chance for us to learn and make the next one smoother. We’re confident the changes we made for this upcoming weekend will help. But again, it will not eliminate congestion. Anytime you close lanes on a major highway, traffic shifts to other places and it creates challenging traffic so please, if you’re going to the Mariners game, the Snoop Dogg concert or any other place this weekend, add plenty of extra time to your trip, be patient and plan your route ahead of time.