Eastbound I-90 across Lake Washington reduced to one lane for construction Feb. 19-22

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Drivers' help needed to keep traffic moving during construction

SEATTLE – Drivers heading east across Lake Washington should plan ahead for construction and delays Feb. 19-22 as part of ongoing work to add around-the-clock HOV lanes to Interstate 90.

Contractor crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation and Sound Transit will continue upgrading the operations and safety systems inside the Mount Baker and Mercer Island tunnels as part of the HOV project. 

Beginning at 11 p.m. Friday, Feb. 19, crews will reduce eastbound I-90 traffic to one lane near Rainier Avenue South, then reroute drivers to the express lanes until 5 a.m. Monday, Feb. 22. 

With several special events planned for the weekend, drivers are asked to adjust their travels or allow extra time to help prevent gridlock during the weekend.

"The biggest piece of work this weekend is bringing in the very large metal pieces and trusses that will be assembled inside the ceiling to improve the eastbound Mercer Island Tunnel's ventilation system," said WSDOT project engineer Aleta Borschowa. 

The contractor will lift the materials into the ceiling before assembling them inside the tunnel and out of the view of drivers. Similar work will occur westbound in May and June.

Building the new HOV lanes on the outer roadways of I-90 will enable construction of Sound Transit's 14-mile East Link light rail extension from Seattle to Redmond in the express lanes.

Traffic details

11 p.m. Friday, Feb. 19, until 5 a.m. Monday, Feb. 22

  • Eastbound I-90 traffic between Rainier Avenue South and Bellevue Way Southeast is routed to the express lanes.
  • The eastbound I-90 exit to Rainier Avenue South will remain open.
  • The Rainier Avenue South on-ramps to eastbound I-90 will be closed. Drivers should follow the signed detour via South Dearborn Street and 4th Avenue South.
  • Flammable materials will be prohibited on eastbound I-90. Drivers must use alternate routes such as Interstate 405 or state routes 520 or 522.
  • The I-90 trail will not be affected.

Special events

Seattle Home Show at the CenturyLink Field Events Center

  • 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20
  • 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 21

Marvel Universe LIVE! at KeyArena

  • 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20
  • 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 21

University of Washington men's basketball at Alaska Airlines Arena

  • 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20

WSDOT needs help from drivers to keep traffic moving 

Thousands of vehicles travel across the I-90 floating bridge on a typical weekend. WSDOT needs drivers' help to prevent regional gridlock:

  • Know before you go: check the Seattle traffic website, call 511 for real-time travel information, and plan for delays and added travel time. 
  • Allow extra time to travel eastbound on I-90 or on alternate routes.
  • Ride transit, carpool or use other alternative modes of transportation. 
  • Travel early in the morning or later in the evening, or reschedule discretionary trips. 
  • Expect congestion on alternate routes such as I-405, I-5 and SR 520. 
  • Key alternate routes for drivers heading to Seattle and the stadiums from the south end include SR 509, SR 599, East Marginal Way South, Airport Way South and 4th Avenue South.  
  • During the day, drivers should expect increased congestion on local streets, especially Rainier Avenue South, 4th Avenue South and South Dearborn Street in Seattle; and Bellevue Way Southeast in Bellevue.