Friday, September 18, 2009

Photo Friday: I-90 Lake Easton Vicinity to Bullfrog Road Interchange Westbound Concrete Replacement project

cracked pavement
Deteriorating Concrete Pavement. We have several miles of this stuff in the right lane of westbound I-90.  Since July we have been working at night to minimize traffic impacts due to heavy summer traffic, but now that summer is almost officially over (where did the time go?) traffic has subsided and now we are working both day and night. Which means it’s serious crunch time because we want to get this work done before the first winter storm. For the safety of motorists and construction crews, we have restricted traffic to one lane in each direction during the weekdays, but on weekends, three lanes – two in the peak travel direction - are open to accommodate heavier traffic volumes.

Guillotine machine
A Guillotine machine. That’s kind of fun to say, what a crazy name. It never ceases to amaze me how many types of equipment we utilize. This one is grinding panels in the westbound lane.

hydraulic hammer

Once the panels are ground, they have to get broken up by a hydraulic hammer. Traffic is most definitely being impacted by the work. When crews work so closely to the roadway traffic tends to slow down even more.  Check out the rest of the photos in this set.

So, plan ahead if you are traveling on I-90 through this area:
  • Pay attention to the signage in the construction work zones. 
  • Visit our project Web page to view travel graphs for the best times to travel
  • Sign up to receive email updates from the I-90 Snoqualmie Pass alert system under Mountain Pass Reports.
  • Reduce your speed to 50 mph through the construction zone.
  • Dial 511 from your hands free wireless device or tune in to the Highway Advisory Radio at 1610 AM.
  • Expect up to an additional hour of travel over Snoqualmie Pass on weekends. 
  • Follow our WSDOT_passes twitter account, and learn about our very cool Direct Messaging features for the passes. 
  • Pack your patience!
Check out project Web page for more information and you can download a pdf (275 kb) of the lane restrictions to print out for reference.

Happy Traveling!


Anonymous said...

We unfortunately made a trip to Seattle this weekend and encountered a 3-hour delay last night at 7pm going eastbound I-90 back to Spokane.

ONE LANE Eastbound or Westbound I-90 on weekends is totally unacceptable...especially on a football game weekend.

There was little to no information on reader boards or the radio 1610 regarding these delays.

We are shocked and angered at the lack of planning and traffic management on this project. I am contacting press outlets to get the word out about this.

Traffic was backed up for 50+ miles prior to "the merge" in Cle Elum.

People were understandably very upset and frustrated. Washington state can do better.

PLEASE open up another lane temporarily to prevent 3-4 hour backups, this was an absolutely awful experience.

Anonymous said...

Sunday night traveling eastbound I was backed up for 2 hrs and 15 minutes from the dam to Bullfrog Bridge...As it grew dark, the frustration of drivers seemed to grow. A merge right sign had the predictable results, i.e., most cars and trucks moved right to be passed at high rates of speed by cars trying to get an edge on the left. Then of course there were those who took right turns to the off ramps to jump ahead on the next on ramps, again at high rates of speed. Several cars passed on the right shoulder then squeezed in. Then after several miles another sign which advertised a mandatory merge one mile ahead only encouraged more reckless behavior. Cars in line moved to the center and were still passed by cars almost in the median. If there was law enforcement they were invisible. The speeds through Easton as seen from the long line seemed excessive. Really poor planning!

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with "anonymous" one and two.

We left E-burg at 8 PM Fri. night (to avoid sunlight in our eyes) and got to Gig Harbor at 2:30 AM Sat. morning. Too long of a drive in the middle of the night with NO rest stops open until North Bend.

A large factor contributing to the excessive delays is that the lights for the construction workers were aimed right in the eyes of motorists. It was blinding, so people had to slow down more than necessary.

Then, there was WSDOT worker standing almost in the road, windmilling his arms about. Apparently he was trying to waive the traffic on. However, because he was seriously backlit (those bright lights again), he was hard to see until motorists were nearly on top of him, which caused more slowing. It also had to be dangerous to him!

And yes, law enforcement would be helpful, to keep the shoulder cut-arounders and the "drive up the middle" motorcyclists in line. The road rage surrounding these incidents was visible.

Had you updated radio 1610 to let people know the delays were excessive, we would have turned around and detoured through Yakima/Hwy12 and not added ourselves to the congestion.

And I consider Friday night to be part of the weekend. I hope WSDOT will agree and open more lanes in the future.

The Geezer said...

Yeah, WSDOT really pooched this.

Knowing what hours two lanes are open is ok, but does not give actionable data.

Wait/delay times must be regularly posted on the website, or you can take those expensive trailer mounted webcams, place them every so often and let the great unwashed masses see them on the regular web page, instead of just feeding it to the news media.

Hey, we vote, they don't.

The Geezer is NOT happy, and I haven't even driven it yet, but have friends who have.

Geezer OUT!

Panda Bear said...

Everyone knows that this construction project is a pain. This is a project that has needed to be done for a very long time so with a little patience we can all get through this.

I'm concerned by a reader board sign that I read today advising the trucks to stay in the right lane. If all the trucks stayed in the right lane, most of the passenger cars would pass on the left thinking they are outsmarting the system. This just causes a larger mess at the merge and everyone patiently waiting in the right lane to go even slower.

If you notice the commercial trucks in the left lane are usually holding thier postion with the vehicle next to them. This forces the passenger cars in the left lane to also hold thier postions. This allows the traffic up ahead to thin out and in most cases will speed them up. If everyone just held thier position with the car next to them there would not be as tight of jam at the merge. Unfortunatly passenger cars have less patience than the trucks.

Please keep in mind these trucks have to get through. A lot of these trucks go over this pass every day. Many of these trucks must make two trips a day from Ellensburg to Seattle to get a full days pay.

If everyone will just hold thier place in line with the car next to them we will all get through this a little easier. A couple of months from now we can look back and say "Thank God that's over with, this sure is a smooth road".

Anonymous said...

I think what you might be experiencing, WSDOT, is that you have done such an incredible job of alerting the traveling public to road projects affecting I-405, SR 99, I-5, etc. that a similar level of alert and media coverage is expected.

Unfortunately, what might have made something newsworthy for the local papers and TV news stations at one point, might not be newsworthy the next time for the next project, until, of course, people are in back-ups and you've got Jim Foreman in his parka at the mountain pass interviewing mad drivers.

Anonymous said...

I live in the Lake Easton Vicinity. The concrete I drive on every day is in terrible shape and this project was sorely needed. Get some patience everyone, this needs to be done. Sorry you are too lazy to pay attention to what WSDOT has been trying to tell you for months.

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