Rainier Freeway Station, at I-90 and Rainier will close for 5 years beginning Monday, September 22, for East Link Construction. You can read Sound Transit’s explainer for more details. Most routes (111, 114, 212, 214, 216, 218, and 219) will bypass the station and head into downtown, while the 554, 217, and some 212 trips will be detoured via Rainier Ave and S Dearborn St to provide service coverage to the North Rainier area.
Needless to say the routes that remain on I-90 will be faster for riders going to and from the Eastside. Seattle DOT is, however, mitigating some of the impact for some routes by making a stretch of 4th Avenue S into an all-day bus lane.
Contributor Jason Shindler wrote a guest piece for us in 2016 previewing some of these changes and suggesting some “radical changes” that could speed up buses traveling on I-90.
In 2023, the station will re-open to serve East Link light rail exclusively. At that time, all I-90 buses coming in to Seattle will terminate at either Mercer Island (with limitations) or South Bellevue.