People who use westbound Interstate 90 this week need to allow extra time for travel between State Route 18 and Issaquah. The freeway is reduced to one left lane 24 hours a day, until 5 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 15, west of the High Point interchange. This has resulted in backups as long as six miles.
A second long-term westbound lane reduction is scheduled from 9 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 18, to 5 a.m. Friday, Sept. 23. Traffic will be reduced to the right lane only for 104 straight hours next week.
Contractor crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation are removing and replacing about 1,550 feet of damaged concrete pavement. The scope of the work requires all-day closures, said WSDOT Project Engineer Shawn Wendt.
“We are removing all the pavement all the way down to the soil, installing a new drainage system, then repaving this section of I-90,” Wendt said. “Because we are replacing so much pavement, this sort of work cannot be done with only overnight closures.”
This section of I-90 is about 45 years old. There is an old coal mine that was capped before I-90 was built. The mine has collected water, which eventually began to seep underneath and onto the roadway. That water, combined with freezing and extreme heat, has cracked the highway to the point that the pavement needs to be replaced.