The Washington State Department of Transportation will close all but one lane of westbound I-90 for a full week from July 18-25 to replace expansion joints on the East Channel Bridge between Mercer Island and Bellevue. This closure will occur on a summer weekend AND the following full workweek AND a week in which the Sounders play a Tottenham friendly AND the suddenly not-terrible Mariners also happen to be in town. As this closure is all but one lane, no HOV/transit priority will be maintained, and no buses will be rerouted. So anyone who depends on the East Channel bridge and/or the 90/405 interchange should expect truly massive delays. The transit routes most affected are 111, 114, 210, 211, 212, 214, 215, 216, 217, 218, 219, 550, and 554, and to a slightly lesser extent 241, 555, and 556.
What can you do about this? For most people, not much. But here’s my advice:
- If you are so fortunate, take advantage of any flexibility afforded by your employer (later start times, vacation, telework, etc). It’s a great week to take a couple days off.
- If you are a Renton Highlands area commuter on routes 111/114, I’d strongly suggest switching to commuting via Renton instead on routes 101, 102, or 143, or via Sounder in Tukwila.
- If you must commute over I-90, and you own a bicycle, use it. The 8-mile ride from South Bellevue to Seattle takes between 25-55 minutes depending on your level of fitness, and will surely beat vehicular and transit traffic across the bridge.
- If you live on Mercer Island and commute to Seattle, enjoy your week of having the World’s Largest Ramp Meter.
- If you’re an Eastgate, Issaquah, or Sammamish commuter and cannot bike? Bring a lengthy book. Maybe something dense and wordy like Dickens or Dostoevsky.
Follow WSDOT on Twitter for the latest updates, and commiserate with your fellow sufferers using hashtag #I90to1.