CHOKEPOINTS

Temporary lane configuration still causing problems for I-90 drivers

Apr 26, 2018, 7:57 AM | Updated: 5:38 pm

A temporary lane configuration created by the “Revive I-5” project continues to cause big problems for drivers on I-90.

WATCH: What’s causing I-5 backups in Seattle

Odd traffic patterns began appearing Monday morning about mid-way through the commute. The westbound lanes of I-90 were backing up earlier than normal, and travel times increased significantly. This all happened with no accidents or stalls along the way.

Drivers reported the lanes at the west end of I-90, where it connects to northbound I-5, were all screwed up. The new lane configurations were to blame.

We’ve seen the same backups every morning this week, with the delays across Lake Washington reaching 40 minutes at times.

So what happened?

The state tweaked the configuration inside the collector-distributor lanes. Those are the lanes that drivers access to downtown Seattle exits and connect to northbound I-5. The lanes were re-striped and the lane that drivers use to exit at Madison Street was turned into an exit-only lane.

Under normal conditions, when drivers exit I-90 to access northbound I-5, they have two lanes as they join the collector-distributor lanes. When they pass the James Street exit, you are down to three lanes. And as you pass the Madison Street exit, you have about 1,000 feet before that right lane merges left.

Under the current configuration, you don’t have that extra 1,000 feet to merge. Madison is exit only, and the lane disappears. So drivers who are used to merging late, which is OK under normal circumstances, are forced to merge earlier. It has caused creative merging and unexpected lane weaving, and that is what is causing the huge backups on I-90.

RELATED: Did anyone notice Seattle’s Mercer ramps were metered?

The state is adding new signs Thursday night to help drivers navigate the temporary changes.

But this configuration is going to be with us until the Revive I-5 project is complete.

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Temporary lane configuration still causing problems for I-90 drivers