Local Information

Brace for change: New HOV lanes begin to form on I-90 between Seattle and Bellevue

Monday, May 8, 2017 - 10:30

Annie Johnson, WSDOT communications, 206-716-1165
Rachelle Cunningham, Sound Transit communications, 206-398-5069

UPDATE: The westbound I-90 closure scheduled to begin at 11 p.m. tonight, Friday, May 12, until 5 a.m. Monday, May 15, has been postponed until next weekend, May 19-22, due to forecasted wet weather. 

SEATTLE – Drivers are starting to see big changes on eastbound Interstate 90 between Seattle and Bellevue. Westbound I-90 will soon see similar changes following the upcoming May 12-15 weekend I-90 directional closure.

Contractor crews for the Washington State Department of Transportation and Sound Transit are in the process of adding new HOV lanes in each direction of I-90 across Lake Washington.

During the May 5-8 weekend, crews shifted and restriped the eastbound lanes of I-90 to make room for a HOV new lane. Monday morning drivers saw big changes to the striping in eastbound Mount Baker Tunnel where crews restriped the tunnel from three lanes to four. The far left lane will ultimately become the new HOV lane, but it is temporarily open to all drivers until the new HOV lane opens in early June.

“Drivers really need to pay attention in the coming weeks as we work to restripe 14 miles of I-90 to add these new HOV lanes,” said WSDOT Project Engineer Aleta Borschowa. “Things will continue to change over the next few weeks. You’re going to see a lot of orange barrels on I-90 until the new HOV lanes open the weekend of June 3.”

With work beginning in the westbound direction, drivers should plan ahead for delays across Lake Washington starting Friday night, May 12.

Closure details
Beginning at 11 p.m. Friday, May 12, crews will reduce westbound I-90 traffic to one lane near Bellevue Way until 5 a.m. Monday, May 15. During the lane closures, crews will shift the current lane configuration to the right in order to make room for the new HOV lane. This work is weather dependent.

Special events
Drivers should plan their travels around special events happening in the Seattle area and give themselves plenty of time to get to their weekend destinations.

Saturday, May 13

  • Upstream Music Fest and Summit in Pioneer Square, 4 p.m.

Sunday, May 14

  • Seattle Storm vs. Indiana Fever at KeyArena, 4 p.m.
  • U2 Concert at CenturyLink Field, 6:30 p.m.

More work ahead
Once the May 12-14 work wraps up, crews still have additional items to complete prior to opening the new HOV lanes the weekend of June 3.

The remaining work includes striping near the I-90/I-5 interchange as well as irrigation and sign installation. Crews will also put the finishing touches on the upgraded tunnel operations systems. The work requires dry weather and extended 12-hour overnight closures. The latest closure information is available on the construction webpage.

When the new HOV lanes open, the I-90 express lanes will permanently close to allow Sound Transit to build the 14-mile East Link light rail extension from Seattle to Redmond.

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