UPDATE | MAY 13TH, 4PM
According to a city news release, the two electronic warning signs installed over the winter became active as of Monday, May 13th. Read our original article below to understand how they will be used to increase driver safety near the congested I-90/SR 18 interchange.
Following a fiery, serious-injury collision at the SR18/I-90 interchange in July 2016, WSDOT began examining the installation of Advanced Queue Warning Signs along eastbound I-90 on the 2-mile approach to the often congested interchange with SR 18.
The system, estimated to cost about $300,000, has two blank electronic signs that turn on when they sense cars waiting in the right, exit-only lane for SR 18. During afternoon peak commute hours, that exit lane often backs up onto 70mph I-90, having caused multiple collisions in the area over the past few years.
It looks like this long-awaited safety improvement is getting closer to functioning. The two electronic signs were recently installed – one about two miles from the interchange and a second sign about a mile away. The sensor that activates the system also looks to be installed. When activated the signs will warn drivers of stopped traffic ahead.
According to WSDOT Communications team member Harmony Weinberg, contractor crews are still working on some technical aspects of the project, but the the plan is to have the signs activated by summer 2019. Weinberg added, “However, we will activate them earlier if the work is completed before then.”
WSDOT will also extend the ‘exit only’ striping on the eastbound I-90 approach to SR 18 this spring/summer. It was originally expected to happen in 2018, but was added to paving project so it could be completed at no additional cost.
WSDOT will begin reconstructing the 90/18 interchange and widening SR 18 between I-90 and the Raging River within the next two years. The $150 million project is still in the design phase and is expected to be complete in 2023.