CHOKEPOINTS

Remember WB I-90 construction backups? They’re coming back

Apr 6, 2023, 7:17 AM | Updated: 9:53 am

I-90 Traffic Mess...

Traffic was a nightmare for many on I-90 last year (KIRO 7 News)

(KIRO 7 News)

Lane reductions on westbound Interstate 90 into Issaquah caused huge backups last year, and guess what? They’re back again.

We might not be out of the rain, but paving work is ramping up across the state. I-90 drivers are going to start feeling the pain next week as they work to resurface the road into Issaquah.

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“In total, we’re going to have six weeks where we have westbound I-90 reduced to one lane, and we’re also going to have a couple of weeks where eastbound I-90 is reduced to one lane,” the Washington State Department of Transportation’s (WSDOT) Tom Pearce said.

The first lane reductions begin at 10 a.m. Monday, April 10, about a mile west of the Preston exit.

These are 24/7 road closures. Westbound I-90 will be fully down to one lane through 6 p.m. again next Wednesday. The same thing will happen from Monday to Wednesday of the following week.

When WSDOT did similar work last year, it created huge backups for drivers.

“People really need to plan ahead,” WSDOT’s Pearce said. “We’re going to be working 24 hours a day. That is going to create issues, particularly when we are working during the morning commute hours. That’s when we saw the biggest backups last year when we were doing this work. We did see some backups during the day, but it really kind of toned down once we got past the morning commute.”

The problem with this spot on I-90 is there are no good detours to get around it, and Pearce didn’t recommend using High Point Way. It saw huge backups last year during this work.

“You’re going to end up running into a huge traffic jam on High Point Way trying to get back onto I-90, and that just causes more trouble for the people who are already on I-90 as well. People really should avoid Northeast High Point Way,” Pearce said. “People should really pretty much just ride it out on I-90.”

Two weeks in May are scheduled for lane reductions from Sunday to Thursday, a little closer to Issaquah. The final weeks of work are still being scheduled.

“The pavement on these bridge decks is the original pavement that we put down more than 40 years ago, so it’s lasted a long time,” Pearce said. “Our goal is to get in there and do a really good job with it this time, and then hopefully, it holds up for decades more.”

We’ll be watching westbound I-90 closely next week to help you get around this, but you should expect several-mile backups, especially in the morning.

Check out more of Chris’ Chokepoints.

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Remember WB I-90 construction backups? They’re coming back