DOT urges commuters to prepare for I-90 closures
April 17, 2009
By Warren Kagarise
NEW — 6 a.m. April 17, 2009
Transportation officials want Eastside and Seattle commuters to plan ahead for the 19-day closure of the express lanes on the Interstate 90 floating bridge.
The lanes will be closed from May 4-23 while crews replace two cracked expansion joints.
Commuters can expect delays up to 40 minutes on stretches of I-90 east of Mercer Island. During the closure, traffic will be restricted to the main roadway on westbound I-90.
Two steel expansion joints — some of the largest in the world — allow the bridge to bend with traffic, weather and the water level in Lake Washington. A pair of new joints weighing 40 tons each will be installed next month.
Longer delays are likely when the state Department of Transportation shuts down three lanes of the westbound I-90 bridge from July 5-28. Vehicles will be limited to two lanes during the shutdown. Crews will replace two other cracked expansion joints with a new pair. Each of those joints weighs 65 tons.
Engineers said the joints began to deteriorate shortly after the westbound span of the bridge opened in 1989. Crews will replace existing hollow joints with solid steel joints. The entire project will cost $8.3 million.