Schedule changes for Interstate 90 express lanes

September 2, 2012

By Staff

NEW — 8 a.m. Sept. 2, 2012

Motorists should prepare for a slight adjustment to the Interstate 90 express lane schedule.

Starting Tuesday, the state Department of Transportation plans to open the I-90 express lanes to westbound traffic at 6 a.m., five hours later than before. Crews used to open the lanes at 1 a.m., back when the process required separate crews to switch both the Interstate 5 and I-90 express lanes.

Now, the I-5 system is automated, so a single crew needs less time to switch both. The same crew performing a safety sweep of the I-5 lanes plans to also switch I-90.

Department of Transportation officials said the change means more time for maintenance crews to devote attention on the high-tech system designed to keep the highway moving.

“This change is going to free up workers to focus on high-priority roadway maintenance projects, like keeping our cameras, data stations and overheads signs working,” Regional Traffic Engineer Mark Leth said in a statement. “This will make a huge difference for us in terms of efficiency.”

Westbound I-90 traffic is very light early in the morning and traffic backups typically do not occur until well past 6 a.m. each morning.

Under the revised schedule, I-90 express lanes open to westbound traffic from 6 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. weekdays. The lanes open to eastbound travel from 2 p.m. to 5 a.m.

On weekends, I-90 express lanes open to eastbound traffic from 2 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. the following Monday. In the event of large sporting events, such as a football game, the lanes’ schedule is adjusted to accommodate the extra traffic coming into Seattle.

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