I-90 closure will end Saturday; construction project will finish a week ahead of schedule
May 14, 2009
NEW — 10 a.m. May 14, 2009
Thanks to good weather and swift construction crews, the Interstate 90 floating bridge express lanes will reopen Saturday – a week sooner than previously scheduled.
That means Monday morning’s commute will be closer to normal with buses and carpools again able to use the I-90 floating bridge express lanes.
Construction on the I-90 express lanes forced cars and buses into mainline traffic and caused some commute delays until Eastside drivers shifted their schedules. On Friday, drivers who want to avoid westbound backups from Issaquah to Seattle still need to travel well before the 7-9 a.m. peak commute.
The work on the I-90 express lanes was crucial for keeping the floating bridge safe for drivers. The old joints, installed about 20 years ago, were cracked and engineers said the joints threatened to pop up into traffic and needed to be replaced.
The I-90 express lanes closed May 3 for major surgery. Crews were given fewer than three weeks to chip concrete and cut free two massive steel expansion joints and replace them with new stronger joints.
The work was expected to be completed by May 23, a date set to include the tough job of removing and replacing the joints, as well as possible delays from rough weather and unforeseen demolition and construction challenges.
Only a few tasks remain to wrap up the first phase of the project. Crews must remove forms, conduct tests of the joints and restripe the lanes. Traffic is expected to be allowed in the I-90 express lanes sometime Saturday.
Crews will completely close the I-90 westbound mainline July 5-28 to replace even larger expansion joints. Drivers need to continue to make plans to avoid potentially unprecedented gridlock on I-90 and other regional freeways in July.
The entire $8.3 million I-90 expansion joint project supports an estimated 80 jobs.