Major traffic shift coming to I-90 east of Snoqualmie Pass

Sep 27, 2022, 6:23 AM

Image: Snoqualmie Pass on Interstate 90...

Snoqualmie Pass on Interstate 90 (Photo: Flickr Creative Commons)

(Photo: Flickr Creative Commons)

It likely won’t have the same impact as the recent closure of westbound Interstate 90 over the weekend, but a significant change is about to happen on I-90 east of Snoqualmie Pass.

Westbound I-90 drivers have been watching the preparations for this change for months. It’s hard to miss a new two-lane stretch of freeway carved into what used to be rocks, dirt, and trees down Easton Hill.

The new lanes are next to the existing westbound lanes, separated by a jersey barrier. The road then peels away from the westbound lanes and snakes its way over the eastbound direction at the bottom of the hill.

Summer Derrey of the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) said cars will be sharing that side of the freeway shortly.

“We’re going to move the eastbound lanes over to the westbound side soon, likely early next week,” Derrey said. “That will be a two-mile traffic shift through that area, and that will be in effect for a couple of years.”

WSDOT is widening six more miles of I-90 to go with the eight miles it already expanded from Snoqualmie Pass.

Derrey said it shouldn’t be too big of an issue for drivers, but driving in the oncoming direction of the freeway can take some getting used to.

“Just follow the detour signs and reduce your speeds through the work zone,” she said.

This shift will likely remain in place for four or five years since only about half the year is available for construction.

“The reason why we are shifting traffic through this area is so we can work quicker, for sure,” Derrey said.

This is the third phase of the widening project from Snoqualmie Pass to Cle Elum, and it will include another wildlife overcrossing near the Easton Hill.

What’s odd about this project is that the widening will not begin right where I-90 goes down to two lanes, just east of the first wildlife crossing. It’s actually starting about two miles away, leaving a gap where the road will go from three lanes in each direction to two and then back to three.

There are many more environmental issues and concerns in that two-mile section which requires much more study and permitting. WSDOT didn’t want to wait for that, so it’s jumping ahead a few miles to work on what it can.

Watch for that lane shift sometime next week.

Check out more of Chris’ Chokepoints.


Photo: Plan on hefty Seattle traffic this weekend whether you plan to drive or take the light rail....

Micki Gamez

Traffic alert: Revive I-5, light rail closures this weekend

Plan on hefty Seattle traffic this weekend whether you plan to drive or take the light rail. Revive I-5 and light rail work is going on.

5 hours ago

wsp hov lanes dummy...

Frank Sumrall

WSP: Driver caught using impressive dummy to evade fines while using HOV lanes

A Washington State Patrol (WSP) trooper ticketed a man for driving in the High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes with a fake "dummy" passenger.

2 days ago

spanaway loop pacific avenue...

Chris Sullivan

Sullivan: Pierce County’s Spanaway Loop shortcut to close for four months

Spanaway Loop Road avoids all the congestion on Pacific Avenue, but it's about to go away for four months due to a major sewer line improvement.

2 days ago


Chris Sullivan

WSF Chief on feasibility of new diesel ferries: ‘There isn’t a ferry dealership down the road’

Getting new ferries is essential, so what about the idea of building or buying some diesel boats quickly while we wait for the electric-hybrids?

4 days ago

Photo: A Milton officer was severely injured while he was trying to take down a suspect on Wednesda...

Micki Gamez

‘This is an ongoing effort:’ King County officers report 36 DUIs in one weekend

Last weekend King County officers conducted a mobile impaired driving unit to get drivers under the influence off the roads.

7 days ago

Image: A multi-vehicle collision including a semitruck on Interstate 5 in Fife slowed down traffic ...

Steve Coogan

1 killed in multi-vehicle crash on I-5 south in Fife; morning traffic affected

The Washington State Patrol is on the scene of a deadly multi-vehicle crash that occurred on I-5 south in Pierce County early Friday.

8 days ago

Major traffic shift coming to I-90 east of Snoqualmie Pass