Drivers on Snoqualmie Pass will have to endure six days of delays next week, so new westbound lanes can be attached to I-90.
The state Department of Transportation says it’s ready to open a new, wider road near Snoqualmie Pass in time for winter driving — but travelers will have to endure six days of delays next week.
Traffic delays will begin Sunday as workers start to connect Interstate 90 to its new westbound lanes, alongside Lake Keechelus toward Hyak for three miles. New eastbound lanes opened a year ago but are temporarily carrying two lanes of traffic each way.
The lane closures begin at 9 p.m. Sunday and the freeway will be down to one lane each direction, until 7 a.m. Friday.
After the closure there will still be two eastbound lanes (plus a chain-removal area), but all three new westbound lanes will open (with a chain-up area), from Milepost 57 to the Hyak exit.
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Before the third eastbound lane can open, DOT must replace the snowshed at the east end of the lake, by late 2013, said Megan McFadden, project spokeswoman. Otherwise, there would be an abrupt, dangerous merge from three lanes to two.
This $112 million, three-mile stretch is part of a $551 million, five-mile project to widen I-90 from four lanes to six. The project replaces broken pavement and contains several bridges so wildlife, streams, snow and rock can move beneath I-90 instead of being blocked by it. Contractors have proposed to replace the old 1950 snowshed with a bridge.
DOT is not estimating the length of delays but says the work needs to happen now before ice arrives.
People should make travel plans for some other day, use an alternate route or allow extra time, McFadden said.
Mike Lindblom: 206-515-5631 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @mikelindblom.