New on-ramp to westbound I-90 from Snoqualmie Parkway could open by end of 2019

At the July 8th Snoqualmie City Council meeting, the council approved an agreement with the Washington State Department of Transportation that officially paves the way for a temporary on-ramp to westbound I-90 from Snoqualmie Parkway.

Per the agreement, WSDOT will put the estimated $1.2 million project out for bid in early September. Work on the temporary on-ramp should begin in mid October and take approximately 45 working days to complete. The hope is the on-ramp will be ready for traffic by the end of 2019, but the project is weather dependent.

The on-ramp will used during the period prior to the start of the I-90/SR 18 Interchange Improvement Project, which WSDOT currently estimates to be sometime in 2021, although no firm start date has officially been determined.

It is estimated the on-ramp could get 2-3 years of use as it will not have to be removed immediately upon the start of interchange construction and there is also the possibility of delays with the complex interchange improvement project. BUT, as some point WSDOT will need the weigh station area for construction staging during the $150 million 90/18 interchange improvement project.

According to a city news release, WSDOT has completed preliminary design plans for the temporary I-90 Ramp Project. The existing signal-controlled right turn lane will be modified to create a free right turn protected by a traffic island and the 90/18 weigh station will be closed to serve as a continuation of the on-ramp.

The new on-ramp will be metered when completed, with the meter signal located at the point where the current westbound on-ramp lane meets the future on-ramp lane – prior to the merge onto westbound I-90.

The temporary ramp is expected to improve traffic for all drivers trying to access westbound I-90 via the SR 18 interchange during peak commute hours.

The $1.2 million project cost is being split between WSDOT and the City of Snoqualmie. The city’s portion will include contributions from the Snoqualmie Tribe ($75,000), the City of Covington ($50,000) and the City of Maple Valley ($50,000).

Snoqualmie is still determining where its estimated $425,000 project funding will come from. The mayor has suggested a temporary, two-year $20 car tab fee to match the city’s project contribution. (The fee would end when the needed funding was reached.)

Larson commented, “I believe a temporary $20 car tab fee would be palatable to the majority of those in Snoqualmie since everyone experiences the regular traffic slowdowns.”

The city council will be presented with funding options in the coming months. At the July 8th council meeting, other options like a sales tax increase or using the city’s ‘rainy day’ fund were also discussed.

Entrance to the exit 25 [former] truck weigh station along the westbound I-90 on-ramp that was recently closed to make way for the new on-ramp lane and future 90/18 interchange improvement project.
Area where current exit 25 westbound I-90 on-ramp meets future, temporary WB on-ramp lane and area where ramp meter light will likely be located

Comments

  1. Why spend this money if the ramp is going to be, “metered?” Here we go again, stop, go, stop, go… Pretty ridiculous, won’t solve a thing during commutes.

    • Because if you dump a high volume of vehicles to quickly from Sno Parkway onto I90 it could cause jams/and or collisions on i90. It will solve a thing..reduces the overall stop and go at 18/i90. Not to bright are you? Besides the meters only stop vehicles for 4-5 seconds maybe a little more?

      • Jim Hanson says

        4 to 5 seconds is likely optimistic. while i doubt it will be as bad as the ones in bellevue and seattle–i often wait 15 minutes for those ones. the point is– this blockage was NOT explained to us when they discussed this new on-ramp setup. this blockage WILL be less but not as much as we were led to believe and it could very well be not much of an improvement over the status quo. that’s important imo because the project was questionable given the short term benefit. much better alternative use: add lanes on 18 from i90. permanent and reduces horrible traffic speed mismatch with cars stopped and others going 70+ mph on i90.

  2. STEVE HAAS says

    If this ramp is going to be metered, it doesn’t solve the problem! Come on WDOT, what is the case for metering????? I-90 is simply not that busy from exit 25 to Issaquah during rush hour! Metering will eliminate any advantage this temporary on ramp is supposed to provide us. If that’s how this ramp will be managed, let’s just skip it and save us all some money – a new ramp with metering is no better than the current mess commuters from the ridge have to deal with. Come on WSDOT – you are better than this!

  3. Way to go, Steve! What a waste of our funds and another possible “temporary tax?” If you’re going to tax us, tax the whole valley (all the drivers who use this). No metering!!! Our transportation experts really aren’t experts. Come out and see for yourself! Not impressed.

  4. So, you people on the westside in King county, WA are so lucky to get road construction done in a timely manner. I live in Spokane, WA and we have terrible roads and road construction is extremely slow going. The money is in king county. Stop complaining people ,you would have it way worse if you lived in Eastern, WA. Enjoy the rain and be happy.

  5. I doubt the metering is about 90. It’s about reducing wrecks in a short merge from two heavily used lanes. The traffic light provides this mitigation today. Better to continue both lanes to 90, with the left merging directly and the right continuing for another quarter to half mile on 90.

    Either way, nice to see that although Covington and Maple Valley put 10x the traffic through the intersection than we do, we get to pay 8x what they each pay. Good job on that deal, Larson. Did you learn how to negotiate from Trump? Even the casino is putting up more than those deadbeats. Better to spend our own money by just repainting the truck turn around for our own use as was originally proposed. If all the people coming up 18 want faster freeway access, let them pay for it themselves.

    • Exactly well put. This new on ramp might be to efficient that it dumps to high a volume of traffic on 90 to quickly metering controls this but it won’t affect the traffic at 18/i90. Some of these comments from people about this saying it wrong solve anything are just dumb.

  6. Jim Hanson says

    this was a questionable use of funds. with the metering, this is just a total waste. i have followed this somewhat closely AND i took their survey on what we would be willing to pay for this and this is the first i’ve heard about metering. i know the dot is strapped for money but stuff like this, the failure to cordon off the right lanes on i90 that are completely stopped waiting to get onto 18, to add lanes for about 2/3 of mile on 18 from i90 (both of which are low cost, quick major helpers) which would dramatically reduce the chance of horrible accidents on i90 due to stopped cars trying to merge at the last minute–i have lost confidence. this is just POORLY done. i guess we pay for an at best minor improvement to getting onto i90 while wait what 3 more years? 4 more years? for the improvement (not solution) to the dangerous situation at this interchange.

  7. “Larson commented, “I believe a temporary $20 car tab fee would be palatable to the majority of those in Snoqualmie since everyone experiences the regular traffic slowdowns.””

    No, Mr. Larson, you are incorrect. Another car tab fee is not palatable. Not everyone experiences the traffic slowdowns either. Further, not everyone using that intersection lives in Snoqualmie – how are you going to get them to pay their fair share? And, nice to add the “metering” in at the last minute. Great way to build support and then slip in the stuff people won’t like when its too late to stop it. Nice.

  8. CECELIA CRUZ says

    How will this look to us coming out from 96th Street trying to get to the new on-ramp? That intersection with Snoqualmie parkway is already tricky.

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