Another weekend construction closure will force traffic on eastbound I-90 to squeeze into the express lanes at Rainier Avenue in Seattle, adding congestion to nearby I-5 in Sodo.
The state is closing the mainline of eastbound Interstate 90 again for transit-related work this weekend, which will cause traffic delays south of downtown Seattle.
All eastbound traffic will be squeezed into one lane near Rainier Avenue South, then funneled into the express lanes from 11 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Monday. This will probably cause spillover congestion at nearby Interstate 5 in the Sodo area, as well as car queues in the I-5 collector-distributor lanes from James Street to the I-90 exit.
The bike-walk trail across Lake Washington remains open, while freeway buses from the Chinatown International District to the Eastside will see brief delays.
Weekend lane closures are part of the $283 million retrofit of I-90, where crews are adding bus-carpool lanes to replace the center express lanes — which are expected to close midyear, so Sound Transit can build light rail tracks to Mercer Island and Bellevue. The project includes giant fans to move smoke from vehicle fires, green emergency exit markers, and new lights in the Mount Baker Tunnel.
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Train service on the $3.7 billion East Link is scheduled to begin by early 2023. Many residents on Mercer Island are outraged about the looming traffic hassles due to light-rail construction and the loss of their longtime access to the express lanes.