I-90 closure: Work progresses, weekday traffic to be tested

by Mike Allende

Our big westbound I-90 expansion joint replacement project started Friday night and work throughout the weekend has gone well with the project remaining right on schedule.

As of Sunday morning, contractor crews had replaced half of two of the huge expansion joints at the East Channel Bridge and were putting down concrete over the new joints. Still to come are the removal of the other half of the old joints, installation of new joints, a 30-hour welding job, and more concrete pouring.

Concrete sealing part of the new expansion joint

The concrete needs about 12 hours to cure but workers will be monitoring it this afternoon. The concrete needs to reach a strength of 2,500 psi (pounds per square inch) for traffic to go over it. Whenever that happens, we’ll be switching the work zone to the other side of the highway to work on the other half of the joints. That is scheduled to happen around 9 p.m. Monday morning drivers will see traffic moving through the work zone in the Phase 2 configuration.

Phase 2 - Monday - Friday morning

From a traffic standpoint, things have been great! We saw no significant slowdowns on westbound I-90 Saturday despite the Sounders match and traffic continued to flow freely on Sunday for people headed into Seattle for the Bite of Seattle or other events. Travel times from Issaquah to Bellevue were about 11 minutes, and about 16 minutes to Seattle.

Monday, of course, is going to be a different story. Even with some people adjusting their plans, telecommuting, taking vacation, we’re going to see significant backups. There’s no way around it. Definitely consider alternate routes but even with that, leave as early as possible. I can’t stand stressing out being late, so leave early. People have been asking for advice and leaving early is really the best I can give you. This will also affect other travel routes, such as I-405, SR 520 and even I-5 in Seattle. Your weekday commute will begin earlier and last longer.

#I90to1 Tweets
We’re adjusting our scheduled here in the Traffic Management Center as well. Morning Guy will be in at 5 a.m. and is on point until 2 p.m. monitoring traffic and updating people on our @wsdot_trafficTwitter handle about what’s going on westbound I-90 (and throughout the region). Afternoon Gal takes over at 2 p.m. and will be here until 8 p.m. all week. If you’re a Twitter user please check in with us as we want to get you the best, most timely information to help with your commute. Use the hashtag #I90to1.

And don’t forget, you can also find travel times and check out our traffic cameras and real-time traffic map so you have an idea of what you’re headed into. This work week is going to be a challenge but stick with us and we’ll keep getting information out so you know exactly what’s going on. Want to know more? Check out the I-90 Survival Guide, and our recent blog post on the I-90 express lanes