MERCER ISLAND, Wash. — Friday night's several hours-long traffic backup has led the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to close all westbound Interstate 90 lanes from Mercer Island to Seattle.
WSDOT said the decision to close more of I-90 was made due to "extreme traffic conditions" after drivers attempted to bypass the original closure using city streets. WSDOT cameras captured the hours-long backup and said people were seen leaving their vehicles.
Bicyclists and emergency vehicles will still be able to cross the bridge.
The closure will last until 5 a.m. Monday, according to WSDOT.
People will need to use Interstate 405 to go around Lake Washington or take State Route 520 to cross the lake.
WSDOT crews will replace an expansion joint that connects the bridge to Mercer Island.
The closure coincides with a Seattle Seahawks home game on Sunday and the University of Washington Huskies at home on Saturday.
"Closures during large events are not ideal, but in this case, it can’t be avoided," WSDOT Project Engineer Shawn Wendt said.
“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.”
WSDOT suggests travelers, especially those headed to the game, should plan ahead and take transit and alternate routes or alter trips where possible.