Bellevue commuters should plan ahead for the July 5 closure of the westbound mainline of the Interstate 90 floating bridge. The state Department of Transportation closure will run around the clock for about two weeks.
All westbound traffic, normally occupying five lanes, will share the two express lanes. Optimistically, WSDOT traffic engineers say 60-minute backups are possible between Issaquah and Seattle but only if half of I-90 drivers change when and how they travel.
The congestion will be caused by safety repairs on the bridge, primarily the replacement of aging expansion joints. The first phase of work, replacement of the expansion joints on the express lanes, was done in May.
WSDOT worked with General Construction Co. to trim more than a week from the project, now scheduled to wrap up by July 20 rather than July 28.
The lane closures on I-90 will likely cause congestion on city streets in Bellevue, as drivers exit freeways and look for alternate routes across or around Lake Washington. Local impacts could be especially heavy on north-south arterials such as Bellevue Way and 148th Avenue.
WSDOT has several tools on its website designed to help travelers, including:
- five new traffic cameras on I-90 so commuters can spot backups before they leave home;
- travel time graphs showing the best and worst times to travel (commuters who get on the freeway before 6 a.m. will face less congestion); and
- recommended commute options such as working from home, vanpooling, carpooling, taking transit or using alternate routes.
Biking across the I-90 bridge is another option. WSDOT will have two temporary bicycle bridges around the construction zones to keep the path open. Choose Your Way Bellevue also offers commute options.
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