As Eastsiders driving to the Huskies game learned Saturday night and will see if they head to Lumen Field for the Seahawks on Sunday, Interstate 90 is not in the game plan. It’s closed. Period.

One narrow, circuitous route west was left open Friday: the West Mercer Island on-ramp that filters onto the floating bridge. On Friday afternoon and evening, drivers seeking that way across the bridge caused enormous traffic backups on I-90 and on the side streets of Mercer Island.

After complaints from the city of Mercer Island, around noon Saturday the Washington State Department of Transportation closed that on-ramp to prevent further chaos.

The agency also closed the westbound access ramps onto I-90 at Bellevue Way and from Interstate 405.

Only walkers, bicyclists, Metro buses, and emergency vehicles are able to get through the West Mercer Island on-ramp onto the floating bridge westbound.

The I-90 highway is otherwise completely closed westbound through 5 a.m. Monday as contractors for WSDOT work to replace a giant expansion joint installed in 1989.


People heading to Seattle from the Eastside must take transit, take the 520 toll bridge to the north or go around the lake.

With 520 now the single functioning bridge across the lake, expect congested traffic and leave lots of extra time.

WSDOT recommended people going to the games carpool or take transit to reduce congestion.

On Saturday, despite WSDOT highway reader boards warning drivers of the closures, some Seattle-bound traffic was still crossing from the Eastside onto Mercer Island. Finding the way blocked, that traffic had to exit at Island Crest Way then turn back eastbound on I-90.

WSDOT spokesperson Tom Pearce said the agency reached out to Google Maps and other routing apps to try to ensure the closure information was updated.

Late Saturday afternoon, he didn’t know whether the information had gotten through. But he said there were, at that point, no traffic delays at any of the I-90 ramps on Mercer Island.


The chaos Friday happened when drivers westbound on I-90 left the freeway on Mercer Island and tried to drive through the side streets to get to the West Mercer Island on-ramp.

Feeding the highway rush-hour traffic into the small side streets created bottlenecks and hourslong backups.

The expansion joint being replaced was engineered as two halves, one part covering the on-ramp and the second part the mainline part of the bridge.

The part on the on-ramp was repaired last weekend so this entryway to the bridge could remain open this weekend. Originally, that had seemed a better option than complete closure. That’s not how it turned out.