Interstate 90 bridges close for air show

August 3, 2010

The state Department of Transportation plans to close Interstate 90 between Island Crest Way on Mercer Island and Interstate 5 several times from Aug. 5-8 to accommodate the Blue Angels’ Seafair practices and performances.

Plans call for the bridges to close from 9:45 a.m. – noon and from 1:15-2:30 p.m. Aug. 5, from 12:45-2:40 p.m. Aug. 6, from 12:45-2:40 p.m. Aug. 7 and from 12:45-2:40 p.m. Aug. 8.

The bridge closes to bicyclists and pedestrians 30 minutes before the automobile lanes close.

The state Route 520 floating bridge will remain open during the I-90 bridge closures.

I-90 bridges close for Blue Angels, starting Thursday

August 2, 2010

NEW — 11:45 a.m. Aug. 2, 2010

The state Department of Transportation plans to close Interstate 90 between Island Crest Way on Mercer Island and Interstate 5 several times from Thursday to Sunday in order to accommodate the Blue Angels’ Seafair practices and performances.

The closure comes per Federal Aviation Administration rules, in order to create a safe environment for drivers and pilots by reducing distractions to both.

Plans call for the bridges to close from 9:45 a.m. – noon and from 1:15-2:30 p.m. Thursday, from 12:45-2:40 p.m. Friday, from 12:45-2:40 p.m. Saturday and from 12:45-2:40 p.m. Sunday.

The bridge closes to bicyclists and pedestrians 30 minutes before the automobile lanes close.

The state Route 520 floating bridge will remain open during the I-90 bridge closures.

Expect more overnight closures along Interstate 90

January 11, 2010

NEW — 6:30 a.m. Jan. 11, 2010

State Department of Transportation officials urged drivers to plan ahead for additional overnight closures on Interstate 90. The closures started last week; another round starts tonight.

DOT crews will install electronic speed limit and lane-status signs above each lane on I-90 and state Route 520.

Expect the following closures nightly from 9 p.m. – 5 a.m. through Friday: Workers will close the westbound I-90 off-ramp to Fourth Avenue, and the right or left lane of eastbound I-90 at Interstate 5.

The next closures start Friday. Workers will close the right lane of the westbound I-90 off-ramp to northbound I-5 nightly from 11 p.m. – 5 a.m. and the westbound I-90 off-ramp to Fourth Avenue nightly from 9 p.m. – 5 a.m.

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Prepare for overnight bridge closures

January 5, 2010

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. Read more

Prepare for I-90 lane closures, starting tonight

January 4, 2010

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.

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I-90 bridge closure will impact Metro bus routes

July 6, 2009

NEW — 6 a.m. July 6, 2009

With crews set to close the westbound Interstate 90 floating bridge, transportation planners plan to reroute King County Metro buses. The changes will impact Issaquah riders.

State Department of Transportation crews will shut down the bridge July 5 for round-the-clock work. The artery across Lake Washington is expected to reopen July 20.

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Many memorable mayors managed Issaquah

June 30, 2009

mayor-history-20050519cPortraits of Issaquah’s mayors can be found in a display case on the stairwell leading to the second floor of City Hall. The photos tell a great deal about the people and times of the fledgling city.

Some of the city’s early mayors were doctors, including Issaquah’s first mayor, Frank Harrell. During the Great Depression, Stella May Alexander was elected the first woman mayor, campaigning on the Taxpayers’ Ticket.

She was elected to a two-year term, defeating the Progressive ticket candidate, M.H. Clark. Ninety-three percent of the city’s registered voters cast ballots and Alexander won 195-136. She lost in a recall election the following year.

In the last half of the 20th century, mayors such as Bill Flintoft and A.J. Culver had to grapple with the emerging growth of the quiet little burg on Lake Sammamish into a thriving bedroom community to Seattle.

Harrell came to the area as the surgeon of the Seattle Coal and Iron Co. He was elected mayor of Gilman without a dissenting vote in 1892. Seven years later, the town was renamed Issaquah, after the original Indian name Is-qu-ah. Read more

Bike, board a bus or telecommute to avoid I-90 hassles

June 30, 2009

State transportation officials urged Eastside commuters to consider bikes, buses or telecommutes ahead of the July 5 shutdown of the westbound Interstate 90 floating bridge. DOT officials believe fewer drivers on the road will mean a less congested commute when the bridge shuts down for two weeks.

Travel times between Issaquah and Seattle could balloon beyond 60 minutes during the shutdown. During the morning commute, all westbound traffic will be funneled to the express lanes — reducing the number of available lanes from five to two. The westbound afternoon commute will be cut from three lanes to two.

Engineers predict the worst traffic will be from 6-11 a.m. and 3-7 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. on weekends.

DOT officials encouraged commuters to plan ahead for the closure. With the shutdown only a few days away, transportation officials suggested employees and supervisors talk about working alternate schedules or telecommuting to avoid peak travel times. King County Metro and DOT officials also advised for commuters to consider mass transit and car- and vanpools as options.

Though the westbound mainline will be closed for around-the-clock construction until July 20, cyclists and pedestrians will be able to use the bridge. Crews constructed two temporary bridges at each end of the floating bridge. Cyclists will have to dismount and walk across the temporary bridges.

“If we had to close the bike lane, that would only put more people on the roads,” DOT spokesman Jeff Switzer said.

Switzer urged commuters to check a DOT project Web site for frequent updates.

DOT officials initially said the shutdown would last three weeks, but the agency paid about $500,000 to the project contractor as an incentive to finish the $8.5 million project in two weeks. The contractor, General Construction Co., of Poulsbo, completed work on the bridge in May ahead of schedule.

Switzer said lessons learned during the May shutdown allowed DOT officials and the contractor to negotiate a compressed schedule for the July closure.

In May, during the first phase of construction, commute times from Issaquah to Seattle doubled from the usual 30 minutes during peak times.

About 71,000 vehicles cross the bridge each day. Officials warned drivers that congestion would be severe during the shutdown. Expect bad weather and accidents to swell commute times as well.

During the shutdown, crews will install 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.

When the westbound span is closed to vehicles, four 12-person demolition crews will work 10-hour shifts to remove the existing, cracked joints and install new joints. Crews are already cutting into the concrete roadway to prepare for the project. The westbound span will be reduced to a single lane nightly from 11:30 p.m. until 5 a.m. through July 2.

Other construction preparations will cause daytime lane closures. Crews will close the express lanes from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. through July 2. The northern express lane will also be closed from 3-10 p.m. through July 2 near East Mercer Way.

During the full-fledged shutdown, two temporary bridges will allow cyclists and pedestrians to bypass the construction zones at the eastern and western ends of the roadway.

Cascade Bicycle Club launched the Bridging with Bikes initiative to educate commuters about getting across the bridge by bike. John Mauro, director of commute programs for the organization, said the shutdown presents a chance to get more commuters out of gridlock.

“Cascade’s Bridging with Bikes program is about making the physical connection for people during the construction to avoid major gridlock,” Mauro said. “But it’s also about making a longer-term and healthy lifestyle connection to the bicycle. Programs like Bridging with Bikes help us all stay fit and save money while building a stronger sense of community and having a lasting impact on the region.

“And it starts with a simple decision,” he added. “Begin the morning with a smile on a bike — and beat traffic on the bridge.”

Reach Reporter Warren Kagarise at 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment on this story at www.issaquahpress.com.

DOT: Plan ahead for July bridge shutdown

June 2, 2009

Transportation officials want drivers to plan ahead as the state readies to close the three lanes of the westbound Interstate 90 floating bridge next month. Read more

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.

i90-construction-20090500a2

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