Q: Can the city of Bellevue "beautify" the area at the exit off Interstate 90 to 150th Avenue Southeast? It is extremely overgrown and not a pretty sight. We have lived in the...

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Q:

Can the city of Bellevue “beautify” the area at the exit off Interstate 90 to 150th Avenue Southeast? It is extremely overgrown and not a pretty sight. We have lived in the area for 30 years and have noticed beautification of other exits. This one seems to be missed.


A:

It appears the Eastgate interchange’s day in the sun has come.

King County and Sound Transit have improvement projects scheduled to begin in the vicinity this spring, aimed at improving roadway safety, capacity and mass-transit access.

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The interchange may appear more careworn these days simply because of the upcoming construction, said Melanie Coon, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation, which maintains sections of the interchange.

“They aren’t going to invest a lot of time and money in something that’s going to get ripped out in a couple of months,” Coon said. Typically, she said, crews aim to maintain corridors such as I-90 at a similar level throughout.

King County and Bellevue are working together to widen 150th Avenue Southeast to seven lanes between 36th Avenue Southeast and 38th Avenue Southeast, add a sidewalk between 38th Avenue Southeast and Newport Way, and install a signal at 150th Avenue Southeast and Newport Way.

Sound Transit, the state, Bellevue and King County plan to connect the I-90 diamond lanes to 142nd Place Southeast with transit-only access ramps, giving buses a more direct connection to the Eastgate Park & Ride.


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“Eastgate is going to get a huge face-lift,” Coon said.


Q:

I commute between Kirkland and Tacoma daily, and time and time again I see empty commuter buses in the HOV lane. Are empty buses, some even with signage flashing “Not in Service,” allowed to use the HOV lane and if so, why?


A:

They are indeed, for reasons of timeliness, said Coon, the DOT spokeswoman.

Those empty buses hurtling past you in the diamond lanes are on their way back to their starting points, known as deadheading in transportation lingo. The buses rely on the HOV lanes to help stay on schedule.

“They’re not just taking advantage of the clear roadway. They really need that time efficiency,” Coon said. “Even when they don’t have somebody in the bus, they have somewhere to go.”


Early warning


Bellevue:

Drivers should expect lane closures near Kamber and Richards roads until Dec. 19. The work is part of a utility relocation needed to advance the East Creek Culvert Replacement Project, scheduled to begin next year.


Bellevue:

Drivers should expect night closures of all northbound lanes of Interstate 405 at Northeast Sixth Street between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. Monday through Thursday. Traffic will be detoured around the work zone using the northbound collector-distributor lane. The northbound Northeast Fourth Street onramp will be closed.


Issaquah:

There will be daily closures of the right lanes of Highway 900 Monday through Friday for roadside restoration and plantings. The right northbound lane will be closed between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. The right southbound lane will be closed 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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