MERCER ISLAND, Wash. - The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) announced on Saturday that the westbound I-90 Homer Hadley Bridge from Mercer Island to Seattle will be closed all weekend long.
According to WSDOT, the closure is intended to relieve congestion on the roadways, in order to make it safer for drivers and other travelers. This follows Friday’s major traffic jam - created by the closure of the I-90 mainline on Mercer Island. Officials say the closure will end Monday morning starting at 5:00 a.m.
Traffic officials say bicyclists, metro buses and emergency vehicles will still be able to cross the bridge, though drivers on the Eastside and Mercer Island will need to use I-405 or the State Route 520 toll bridge to go west of Lake Washington.
Drivers headed towards Seattle are urged to give themselves extra travel time on Saturday through Monday. There are several major events happening in the area such as, the University of Washington Husky football game and the Seattle Seahawks game, which are both likely to cause traffic headaches.
On Friday, travelers on I-90 and I-405 experienced several hours-long delays, because too many people heading towards Seattle used the city streets on Mercer Island to rejoin I-90 after the closure point. WSDOT says this caused major backups on the streets and nearly gridlocked I-405 south of Bellevue.
WSDOT says while I-90 is closed, crews will be working to replace expansion joints that connect the Homer Hadley Bridge with the west side of the island.west side of the island.
WSDOT Project Engineer Shawn Wendt said the closures during large events are not ideal and can't be avoided.
"We have been trying to schedule this work for several months, but supply chain issues have pushed us back into September, and we need to finish the project this fall while there is still good weather to allow the concrete to cure," Wendt said. "This expansion joint is old and needs to be replaced. If it were to break, that would require an emergency repair that could affect peak traffic periods. By scheduling the work and announcing it ahead of time, people have an opportunity to plan around it."
Drivers should plan ahead and take alternate routes.
"The coming summer travel seasons will be challenging, and we ask the public's patience as we share steps to help reduce congestion and stay informed," Wendt said.
The bike lane and pedestrian path on I-90 will remain open during the lane closures.