Just as the trees are sprouting brand-new leaves, soon too will the Eastside's highways sprout more of those handy electronic readerboards...

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Just as the trees are sprouting brand-new leaves, soon too will the Eastside’s highways sprout more of those handy electronic readerboards that tell you which Lake Washington bridge is the quickest way to reach Seattle, or how long it will take to reach Bellevue from Lynnwood.

“We got rave reviews, so we’re expanding them,” said Melanie Coon, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation.

Starting last month, freeway signs at five locations around Puget Sound began displaying travel times between major destinations. Most of the signs only display morning-commute estimates, but the state plans to add afternoon times in the near future.

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Three of the signs already exist on the Eastside: along southbound Interstate 405 in Bothell and Kirkland and along westbound I-90 in Eastgate.

The Eastside will receive six more signs in the coming months, mostly along I-405. Three will help northbound travelers in Bothell, Bellevue and Factoria. Two will help southbound drivers in Bellevue and Renton, with one more along westbound Highway 520 in Bellevue.


Q.

Westbound Interstate 90 through Issaquah always is congested during rush hour, especially where I-90 goes under Highway 900 and the High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane begins. Why can’t the state extend the HOV lane back beyond the Front Street westbound access to I-90? Maybe this would prevent single drivers from plowing onto the HOV onramp then trying to squeeze back into the regular lanes after they pass a couple of cars.


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Got an Eastside traffic question? Send it to us by e-mail, east@seattletimes.com; by fax, 425-453-0449; by mail, The Seattle Times Eastside News Bureau, 1200 112th Ave. N.E., Suite C-145, Bellevue, WA 98004.


A.

Turns out the state had a similar brainstorm. The transportation department has studied whether moving the start of the HOV lane to the east would improve traffic flow and enhance safety, said Leslie Forbis, the state’s HOV operations engineer.

But after replicating current conditions on a computer, the model showed that moving the start of the HOV lane would merely move the traffic backup a mile or so farther to the east, she said.

“We feel this could be more dangerous for motorists because we would be moving the congestion to an area where drivers go faster, must navigate more curves and are more likely to be surprised by traffic congestion,” Forbis said.

The state will continue searching for ways to improve the situation, she said.


Early Warning

Bellevue:
The 700 block of 99th Avenue Northeast will be closed daily from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Crews will install a new sewer connection. Local access will be permitted from the south.


Redmond:

Motorists should expect single-lane closures on Highway 202 between Northeast 70th Street and 180th Avenue Northeast in each direction from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday while crews perform electrical work for signal and illumination systems. There will also be single-lane closures between Highway 520 and 180th Avenue Northeast from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. each night.


Bellevue:

The southbound Interstate 405 on- and offramps at Northeast Fourth Street will be closed from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Monday and Tuesday nights.

Karen Gaudette: 206-515-5618 or kgaudette@seattletimes.com

Got an Eastside traffic question? Send it to The Seattle Times Eastside News Bureau, 1200 112th Ave. N.E., Suite C-145, Bellevue, WA 98004. Fax: 425-453-0449. E-mail: east@seattletimes.com