Drivers heading eastbound across Snoqualmie Pass on Interstate 90 this week should prepare for backups and long delays as crews work to fix broken pavement in the midst of summer traffic. 

The work is east of the Snoqualmie summit at the Stampede Pass interchange. Traffic is being detoured off the interstate and onto on and off ramps at Exit 62 with speeds of 25 mph. The work is expected to continue through Friday morning.

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) warned before the work started that backups could stretch several miles and drivers could be delayed longer than one hour. The picture was even worse around midday Monday, with backups stretching about seven miles and drivers seeing two-hour delays, according to WSDOT spokesperson Meagan Lott. 

Traffic Lab is a Seattle Times project that digs into the region’s thorny transportation issues, spotlights promising approaches to easing gridlock, and helps readers find the best ways to get around. It is funded with the help of community sponsors Alaska Airlines, Kemper Development Co., Madrona Venture Group, NHL Seattle, PEMCO Mutual Insurance Company and Seattle Children’s hospital. Seattle Times editors and reporters operate independently of our funders and maintain editorial control over Traffic Lab content.

Delays were worse than expected because drivers were stopping or pausing as they used the on and off ramps to cross the interchange, despite cross traffic having stop signs, Lott said. The department is hoping to get a flagger to the scene to speed up the flow of traffic.

Westbound drivers were not being affected, Lott said.

WSDOT’s advice: Delay your trip, travel earlier in the morning and later at night or take another route.

Advertising

But there’s bad news for drivers looking to take another route, too: Work is also causing delays on Highway 2, which travels over Stevens Pass, and on Highway 97 over Blewett Pass.

“This week is going to be really not fun for cross-state travel,” Lott said. 

Although traffic on I-90 fell early in the coronavirus pandemic, it has returned to typical summer levels, Lott said. 

Crews will work “around the clock” to remove and replace concrete panels directly beneath the Stampede Pass interchange, according to WSDOT. Once planned for this fall, the work is happening now because of worsening conditions.

The damage is the result of aging pavement that is 50 years old in some locations, Lott said. It is expected to be replaced in 2026. Crews had been making temporary repairs in the area, “but unfortunately those repairs weren’t even holding for a couple days to a couple weeks,” Lott said. “We felt we needed to go in and fix it sooner than later.”

Find more updates about conditions near Snoqualmie Pass on WSDOT’s website or by texting “WSDOT Snoqualmie” to 468311.