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Even with a Sounders match on Saturday, drivers did not face the traffic pileups anticipated on the first full day of Interstate 90 lane closures.

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) said that before and after the 1 p.m. match, drivers did a great job of using alternate routes and avoiding significant backups.

“People steered clear of the construction area for the most part,” said department spokesman Graham Harrison. “There were not any significant slowdowns.”

The I-90 express lanes were open westbound Saturday afternoon in anticipation of the game — something WSDOT does for all Sounders, Seahawks and Mariners games, to ease traffic.

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During the workweek, the lanes will run on normal schedules. However, the lane reduction starts at Bellevue Way Southeast — before the entrance to the express lanes. Department spokesman Tom Pearce said drivers have to make it through the choke point before they can enter the express lanes.

“So it won’t help westbound traffic,” he said.

WSDOT is encouraging people to continue to use alternate routes, carpool and telecommute, because many more cars will be on the road on Monday.

“The one issue is that people may see this and think, ‘Oh it is fine,’ and they go back to their regular routing,” Pearce said. “Then all the sudden we’ll see the backups start.”

Coral Garnick: 206-464-2422 or On Twitter @coralgarnick

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