Prepare for I-90 lane closures, starting tonight

January 4, 2010

By Staff

NEW — 12:57 p.m. Jan. 4, 2010

Plan ahead for overnight closures this week on the Interstate 90 bridges across Lake Washington.

State Department of Transportation crews will install electronic speed limit and lane-status signs above each lane on the Interstate 90 and state Route 520 bridges.

Crews will intermittently close up to two lanes in both directions of I-90 between the floating bridge midspan and Bellevue Way nightly 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. tonight through Friday.

The state DOT will close the on-ramp from Bellevue Way to westbound I-90 nightly from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. tonight through Thursday. Crews will close the high-occupancy vehicle on-ramp from Bellevue Way to westbound I-90 nightly from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. tonight through Thursday. Workers will also close the off-ramp from eastbound I-90 to Bellevue Way nightly from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Tuesday through Friday.

On Thursday, crews will close the westbound I-90 transit lane from Rainier Avenue to Airport Way from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.

During the closures, state crews will drill shafts and place concrete for sign foundations.

Officials plan to install 25 signs along I-90 between Interstate 5 and 150th Avenue Southeast in Eastgate. The plan also calls for 19 signs on SR 520 between I-5 and 130th Ave Northeast in Bellevue. The totals both include new signs mounted onto existing structures.

The new signs will post variable speed limits to warn drivers of backups ahead and smooth traffic as motorists approach a crash or another incident blocking a lane. The overhead signs also can be used to quickly close entire lanes and provide warning information to drivers before they reach slower traffic.

Officials said the signs, known as active traffic management tools, proved effective at reducing collisions and improving traffic flow in Europe. State DOT figures show the technology resulted in a 30 percent reduction in collisions and a 22 percent increase in roadway capacity.

Officials said the signs should reduce congestion-related collisions and smooth traffic, cutting backups and stop-and-go traffic. Plans call for the signs to be constructed next month, with installation set for spring. Officials plan to activate the SR 520 signs in August, and the I-90 signs in March 2011.

The safety project is part of the Urban Partnership, a collaboration between the state DOT, King County and the Puget Sound Regional Council, a transportation planning organization.

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6 Responses to “Prepare for I-90 lane closures, starting tonight”

  1. kathy on January 4th, 2010 4:27 pm

    this seems like a waste of taxpayers money….money that the state doesn’t really have to spend….
    Am I the only one that feels this way??

  2. al on January 4th, 2010 5:57 pm

    adding more signs is a great idea, better then the toll land on sr-167, now that’s a waste of taxpayer’s money. DOT already knows that sr167 is always busy, why not just spend that money to build an express land instead.

  3. Scott on January 4th, 2010 6:05 pm

    For the 30% saved from a collision, it will be priceless.

  4. Jon on January 4th, 2010 6:45 pm

    Kathy, did you even think before you make such rash comments, or do you spew the same garbage whenever you hear taxpayer money is spent on anything? I’ll bet you would want our tax money to just sit there in a piggy bank and not be spent on anything.

    Read the article before posting.

    “…30 percent reduction in collisions and a 22 percent increase in roadway capacity.”

    Installation costs of these signs is minimal and the improvement of traffic flow and reduction in collisions will substantially improve.

    This is actually a great use of taxpayer money.

  5. sleestacks on January 4th, 2010 7:25 pm

    We have a surplus of tax payer money sitting around in the piggybank?

  6. MS on January 4th, 2010 8:55 pm

    Jon, Kathy’s statement has valid reasoning & is not rash.
    *The fact is, our state is in a budget crisis. You cannot disregard that. “Minimal” cost is vague and undefined. Have an exact number to defend your statement? No. You lose that argument.
    *Too many signs in close proximity become less effective because people tend to stop looking at them. That’s fact. It’s necessary to examine claims objectively without using ambiguous words like “30 percent reduction” and “22 percent increase.” There’s nothing to back that up with either. It’s necessary to examine the facts first.

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