Eastbound I-90 traffic shifts to express lanes for weekend starting Friday, Jan. 13

Publish Date

SEATTLE – Drivers heading east across Lake Washington should plan ahead for construction and delays Friday, Jan. 13 through Monday, Jan. 16 due to ongoing work to add around-the-clock HOV lanes to Interstate 90.

Beginning at 11 p.m. Friday, Jan. 13, until 5 a.m. Monday, Jan. 16, eastbound I-90 will be reduced to a single lane near Rainier Avenue South in Seattle, and all traffic will be routed into the express lanes. Drivers traveling east from Seattle should plan for lengthy delays along Interstate 5, eastbound State Route 520 and eastbound I-90.

"While it's a holiday weekend, MLK Day is not a big travel weekend like Memorial Day or Labor Day," said Washington State Department of Transportation Traffic Engineer Mike Swires, adding that drivers should still plan ahead for congestion and longer travel times. "Traveling earlier or later in the day, carpooling or taking transit can help keep traffic moving regardless of your destination."

During the lane reduction, contractor crews working for WSDOT and Sound Transit will continue upgrading the operations and safety systems inside the Mount Baker and Mercer Island tunnels as part of the I-90 Two-Way Transit and HOV Operations project. The tunnel work must be completed before Sound Transit can begin work in 2017 to devote the I-90 express lanes to the 14-mile East Link light rail extension.

The lane closures on I-90 will provide contractor crews with the space they need to upgrade the operations and safety systems in the eastbound tunnels. Crews have another weekend-long closure scheduled westbound Feb. 10-13 and drivers should plan on additional weekend-long closures until the project wraps up in mid-2017.

Traffic details

11 p.m. Friday, Jan. 13, until 5 a.m. Monday, Jan. 16

  • Eastbound I-90 traffic between Rainier Avenue South and Bellevue Way Southeast will be 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 Fourth Avenue South.
  • Flammable materials will be prohibited on eastbound I-90. Drivers hauling flammable cargo must use alternate routes such as I-405 or state routes 520 or 522.
  • The I-90 Trail will not be affected.

Special events

Seattle Wedding Show at the Washington State Convention Center

  • 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.  Saturday, Jan. 14 and Sunday, Jan. 15

Seattle University Men's Basketball at KeyArena

  • 7 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 14

Help 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.
  • During the day, drivers should expect increased congestion on local streets, especially Rainier Avenue South, Fourth Avenue South and South Dearborn Street in Seattle; and Bellevue Way Southeast in Bellevue.