President’s visit Tuesday could worsen I-90 traffic backups

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BELLEVUE  — ‘Carmageddon’ is not living up to its name.

The Washington State Department of Transportation closed several westbound lanes of Interstate 90 on Friday night for necessary construction work, but backups have not been too bad these last few days. That could change Tuesday, when President Barack Obama comes to town for a fundraising event on the Eastside during the evening commute.

Drivers have been pleasantly surprised by how quickly they’re getting through the construction zone on I-90.

“It’s not as bad as I thought it’d be,” said one driver Monday. “It’s moving.”

“I just went through,” added another. “It wasn’t that bad.”

WSDOT says 85,000 cars normally drive the stretch of I-90 near I-405 each day. But since lanes were closed Friday night, commuters have been finding alternate ways of getting around.

“I decided to ride my bike in each day, and take the bus home each night,” said Claudina Campbell.

Betty Matthews and her husband planned ahead and gave themselves more time to get to the Mariners game.

“We expected traffic so we’re here a little early,” she said

But what should drivers expect as the week goes on?

“I have a feeling tomorrow they think it’s going to be safe to go out and drive and it’s going to be horrible,” said Campbell.

WSDOT is hoping drivers continue to carpool or take detours.

“Even if they have a good trip today, they shouldn’t assume that’s the way it’s going to be the rest of the week,” said the WSDOT’s Kris Olsen.

She added that Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays are generally the busiest traffic days.

If a presidential motorcade is added to the evening commute, she said, everything could come to a standstill.

“President Obama coming to town Tuesday, that’s a variable we didn’t plan on,” Olsen said.

Driver Will Shanahan didn’t know about the president’s visit. But he said it will change his travel plans.

“I guess I’m going to have to avoid using the bridge, or I’m just going to have to get up earlier and plan ahead.”

Campbell would like the president to change the way he gets to the Eastside.

“I’m hoping he goes in in a chopper!”

For security reasons, we won’t know the president’s exact route ahead of time. All we know is he’s expected to be in town from around 3 p.m. until 7 p.m.

Stay tuned to Q13 Fox News for the latest on his visit.

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