Let’s call a spade a spade. The I-90/SR 18 interchange sucks, especially during peak commute hours. There’s really no nice way to put it. Even yesterday morning with light traffic because of Memorial Day, it took 10 minutes to go one mile from my home and enter eastbound I-90.
It seems the traffic issues at the busy I-90/SR 18/Snoqualmie Parkway interchange are never ending. The time of the day often dictates what [illegal] “shortcuts” various drivers will attempt.
In the morning, when the right turn only lane onto westbound I-90 from Snoqualmie Parkway is backed up for 1/2 – 1 mile, some drivers will drive in the adjacent open lane and then cut into the right turn lane at the last minute infuriating waiting drivers – or get in the eastbound I-90 left turn lane only to pull a sometimes illegal u-turn to get back to the non-congested turn lane for westbound 90.
In the afternoon, when traffic is backed up onto eastbound I-90 for 1/2 -1 mile with vehicles waiting to access westbound SR 18, drivers will stay in the left turn lane and then take an illegal right turn around the median toward narrow SR 18, making the traffic backup at the interchange and over Tiger Mountain worse.
Right Turn Only Violators Spark Complaints to Police
As the interchange has become more congested, traffic violators have gotten more creative.
And it seems another violation is drawing the attention of citizens, resulting in numerous complaints to the Snoqualmie Police Department: right turn only violators on Snoqualmie Parkway in the restricted westbound I-90 entrance lane.
According to Policer Chief Steve McCulley, his department continues to respond to issues with these right turn only violators, explaining drivers are stopping in this restricted lane for westbound I-90, waiting for the green light and then proceeding straight (southbound) onto SR 18.
These traffic violators cause increased backups on Snoqualmie Parkway (and the entire intersection) during rush hour traffic. According to Chief McCulley, the restrictive markings for the right turn only lane are very worn and in need of repainting, which could also be contributing to some of the traffic-causing violations.
This section of Snoqualmie Parkway is just outside the Snoqualmie city limits and requires some help from the Washington State Patrol (their jurisdiction) for enforcement – and it seems that is set to happen.
Lane violators beware, police are set to address this continued issue at busy interchange. Chief McCulley stated via email that the Washington State Patrol (WSP) will be conducting emphasis patrols (timing not revealed), as well as working with WSDOT to get the restrictive lane markings repainted and improve the signage visibility in the busy area.
Short-term Help, Long-term Improvements Possible
Will this solve all the rush traffic issues at the congested interchange? Probably not, but it will most likely help. If the Washington State Legislature can pass a transportation bill during this 2015 session, hope may be on the way, though.
State Representation Jay Rodne (R-Snoqualmie) stated earlier this month that if the Senate and House can pass a transportation bill this year, $211 million dollars of the proposed $15 billion package will be earmarked to improve the I-90/SR 18 interchange. (See earlier story on the topic HERE.)
The legislature is currently in the last week of a 30-day special session, as it could not agree on a two-year operating budget that fully funds education per the McCleary Supreme Court decision or a transportation bill to improve roads during the 105-day regular session.