New I-90 HOV lanes nearly ready for traffic

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Plan ahead for construction and events first two weekends of May

This news release was issued jointly by the Washington State Department of Transportation, Sound Transit.

SEATTLE – Drivers should plan ahead for longer weekend travel times on Interstate 90 across Lake Washington as weekend work to add around-the-clock HOV lanes winds down with just two more weekends of work scheduled. Mariners and Sounders fans will add additional congestion to the mix as work to restripe eastbound I-90 starts Friday, May 5.

May 5 – 8 closure

Beginning at 11 p.m. on Friday, May 5, contractor crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation and Sound Transit will reduce eastbound I-90 to one lane near Rainier Avenue South and reroute traffic to the express lanes until 5 a.m. Monday, May 8. The closure will give crews the room they need to shift the existing three general-purpose lanes to the right and make room for the new HOV lane and put finishing touches on upgrade work inside the Mount Baker and Mercer Island Tunnels. Crews will perform similar work in the westbound lanes the following weekend, May 12-15.

Special events

Drivers should allow extra time or consider carpooling, taking transit and checking their route before traveling through the Seattle area due to events this weekend.

Saturday, May 6

  • Seattle Yacht Club – opening day of boating season parade, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Sounders FC vs. Toronto FC, noon
  • Mariners vs. Rangers, 6:10 p.m.

Sunday, May 7

  • Mariners vs. Rangers, 1:10 p.m.

More work ahead

Once the weekend work wraps up crews still have additional items to complete, including striping near the I-90/I-5 interchange as well as irrigation and sign installation, prior to the new HOV lanes scheduled opening on June 3. 

"Drivers will see lots of changes over the next month as crews put finishing touches on this project," said WSDOT Traffic Engineer Mike Swires. "Once the new HOV lanes open and the express lanes close there will definitely be a period of adjustment as drivers get used to the changes."

When the new HOV lanes open, the I-90 express lanes will permanently close to allow Sound Transit to complete construction on the 14-mile East Link light rail extension from Seattle to Redmond.