Westbound I-90 bridge will reopen Saturday, two days early

July 16, 2009

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 6 a.m. July 16, 2009

The westbound Interstate 90 floating bridge will open earlier than expected, transportation officials announced Tuesday. The bridge across Lake Washington will reopen to vehicles Saturday — two days ahead of the timeline announced by state Department of Transportation officials.

Crews finished pouring seven truckloads of concrete Tuesday to seal new expansion joints into place, according to a DOT update. Workers will spend about a day restriping lanes back to their normal configuration starting at 9 p.m. Friday. The express lanes will be closed most of Saturday for the restriping. Crews also began removing equipment Tuesday, according to the update.

During the shutdown, crews installed a pair of new expansion joints weighing 65 tons each. Joints — some of the largest in the world — allow the bridge to bend with traffic, weather and the water level in Lake Washington.

With the westbound span closed to vehicles, four 12-person demolition crews worked 10-hour shifts to remove the existing, cracked joints and install new joints.

As the shutdown loomed, transportation officials urged employees and supervisors to talk about working alternate schedules or telecommuting to avoid peak travel times.

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