Q. When we noticed the state transportation department working on the I-90 car-pool lane that begins just past the Front Street onramp...
Q. When we noticed the state transportation department working on the I-90 car-pool lane that begins just past the Front Street onramp, we thought workers would extend the lane farther east to help alleviate morning backups. Instead, they shortened it, and now the lane doesn’t start until well after the Highway 900 onramp, nearly in Bellevue.
Why this decision? Any plans to extend the car-pool lane through Issaquah? My morning car pool to Seattle gets on I-90 at the Sunset/Highlands onramp and now we have to sit through more traffic before we can take advantage of the car-pool lane.
A. So here’s the deal: While it was great for your car pool and others hitting I-90 from the Sunset/Highlands onramp to have the high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane start so far east, the state says having the lane begin there actually created a bottleneck.
Leslie Forbis, the state’s HOV operations engineer, says traffic is growing fast along the I-90 corridor with development on Highway 18 and Snoqualmie Ridge and the ease of the new Sunset Interchange. The state also is seeing more accidents, however, especially through Issaquah.
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That’s because car-pool drivers slowed traffic as they merged left, single drivers slowed traffic as they merged right and out of the HOV lane, and other drivers got stuck in the mess, Forbis said.
“By moving the car-pool lanes farther west, we give people more time to deal with the merging traffic before they have to start worrying about the car-pool lanes too. This means fewer bottlenecks and fewer accidents,” Forbis said.
Plus, few of the motorists coming from the east are car pools, Forbis said, diminishing the need to start the lanes farther east.
Got an Eastside traffic question? Send it to us by e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org; by fax, 425-453-0449; by mail, The Seattle Times Eastside News Bureau, 1200 112th Ave. N.E., Suite C-145, Bellevue, WA 98004.
State engineers are analyzing traffic flow to see how the new plan works. The state has discussed building a lane for I-90 car poolers east of Highway 900, but the Legislature has not allocated money for design or construction, Forbis said.
• Totem Lake detour
To all who drive Interstate 405 through Kirkland, the state will close the northbound I-405 onramp from westbound Northeast 124th Street for up to seven weeks starting Thursday. Remember to get onto northbound I-405 from Totem Lake Boulevard instead.
Crews need the space to work on a Sound Transit/Department of Transportation project that will bring a new freeway bus station, a new bridge across I-405 at Northeast 128th Street and new HOV onramps and offramps in the freeway median.
Bellevue: A four-block section of Main Street from 100th Avenue to Bellevue Way will close from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. tomorrow and Sunday so crews can complete a paving project. Starting Monday, expect lane closures and detours on Bellevue Way between Southeast Third Street and Northeast Eighth Street from 9 p.m. to 6 p.m. until September.
Issaquah: Expect weekday lane closures through August on East Lake Sammamish Parkway near Southeast 56th Street from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and occasionally at night, as crews install a sewer line. Work will continue along the parkway to Southeast 43rd Way. Crews also have begun work along Southeast 56th Street and Northwest Sammamish Road.
Karen Gaudette: 206-515-5618 or email@example.com