Report: Expect more traffic troubles as Obama plans Seattle trip during BUSY construction week

I-90 Lane Closure Preparations
i90

File photo/KCPQ-TV

SEATTLE — President Barack Obama has planned another political visit to the Seattle area next week just as the holiday construction season reaches its peak.

A senior White House official told the Seattle Times that Obama is traveling to Seattle on Tuesday for a Democratic National Committee fundraiser.

It’s not clear what time of day or where he will be in the area, but that information will be released in the coming days. The Times reports Obama will fly to San Francisco after the Seattle fundraiser.

Major I-90 closure starts Friday

Transportation officials have been warning drivers to prepare for the closure of all but one westbound lane on I-90 near Mercer Island.

Crews are replacing two old bridge expansion joints — a project they say is difficult and time-consuming.

The project will reduce westbound I-90 to one lane at Bellevue Way around-the-clock form 9:30 p.m. Friday, July 18th through 5:00 a.m. Friday, July 25th.

Officials say there will be three lanes open across the East Channel Bridge from Bellevue Way to East Mercer Way.

WSDOT is encouraging drivers to allow plenty of extra time, and expect extra congestion on I-405, SR 520 and even I-5.

Here is a breakdown from WSDOT:

The following will be temporarily closed Friday night to early morning Saturday morning:

  • 8 p.m. – 3 a.m.

o   The southbound Bellevue Way general purpose ramp to westbound I-90 closed. All drivers will use the HOV ramp through 3 a.m.

  • 8 p.m. – 5 a.m.
    • The westbound I-90 ramp to East Mercer Way will be closed. Drivers will be detoured to Island Crest Way.
    • The northbound and southbound I-405 ramps to westbound I-90. Drivers will be detoured east on I-90 to 148th Avenue Southeast and turned around to travel west on I-90.
  • 8 p.m.
    • The westbound I-90 lanes begin narrowing with the interstate down to one lane at Bellevue Way by 9:30 p.m.

Saturday, July 19

  • 3 a.m.
    • The southbound Bellevue Way HOV ramp to westbound I-90 closes for the weekend for the first phase of construction. The Bellevue Way general purpose ramp will reopen to all.

At 5 a.m., Saturday, July 19 the first stage of construction will be in effect. During this phase the crews will replace the expansion joints on the left side of the bridge. The following will be close or open during this work:

  • Closed:

o   All but one lane of westbound I-90 between approximately I-405 and Bellevue Way.

o   The three left lanes across the bridge itself to East Mercer Way.

o   The Bellevue Way HOV on-ramp to westbound I-90. All drivers use the general purpose ramp.

o   The southbound I-405 HOV ramp to westbound I-90. All drivers use the general purpose ramp.

  • Open:

o   Three lanes open from approximately Bellevue Way and across the East Channel Bridge. Interstate 90 returns to its normal configuration near East Mercer Way.

o   The exit to East Mercer Way.

o   The Bellevue Way general purpose ramp to westbound I-90.

o   The southbound I-405 general purpose ramp to westbound I-90.

o   The northbound I-405 exit to westbound I-90.

o   The bike/pedestrian path will be open throughout construction.

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