The I-90 tunnels have not been upgraded since they were built in 1989. They will be getting a much-needed face-lift beginning with this weekend’s eastbound closure; a westbound closure will take place May 15-18.
During a behind-the-scenes tour Tuesday, media members and WSDOT and Sound Transit employees viewed the suspension cables that support the lid over Interstate 90 at Mount Baker in Seattle. Some of the systems that help keep drivers safe in the event of a fire or other incidents in the I-90 tunnels were shown.
The tunnels have not been upgraded since they were built in 1989. They will be getting a much-needed face-lift during this weekend’s eastbound closure, then a westbound closure May 15-18.
Work will be done retrofitting the huge fans inside the tunnels, 1,800 light fixtures will be replaced and 38 new cameras will be installed.
Link light-rail trains will eventually run where the I-90 express lanes are now. East Link light-rail construction on I-90 will begin in 2017 (after the current project is done), with 10 stations connecting Seattle, Mercer Island, Bellevue and Overlake opening in 2023.
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Crews will work inside the Mount Baker and Mercer Island tunnels this weekend, and eastbound I-90 traffic will be reduced to one lane approaching the Mount Baker Tunnel from 11 p.m. Friday, May 1, until 5 a.m. Monday, May 4. All eastbound traffic will then be rerouted to the express lanes.
WSDOT advises drivers to plan ahead for delays on I-90 and I-5, and consider alternate routes like I-405 or Highway 520 to cross Lake Washington.