3 lanes on westbound I-90 now closed for a week

BELLEVUE, Wash. - The Washington Department of Transportation is begging commuters to make alternative plans for getting to work next week if they usually commute to Seattle on Interstate 90.

Three lanes of westbound I-90 closed Friday evening between Bellevue and Mercer Island for road repair. The lanes will remain closed while crews replace two aging and deteriorating 92-foot-long bridge expansion joins on the freeway's east channel bridge.

The lane closures also will affect many of Bellevue's on-ramps to westbound I-90.

Transportation officials say about 85,000 drivers use westbound I-90 each day. They are being asked to consider carpooling, taking another route, telecommuting or catching a bus.

Making the evening commute even more challenging on Tuesday is a scheduled visit by President Obama during the afternoon and early evening. Details of exactly when and where he'll be have not been released but expect freeway closures around the Puget Sound region as his motorcade moves between stops.

What you need to know:

Leaving home early cannot be overemphasized, in addition, to carpooling, using transit or telecommuting. For cyclists, the bike lanes along I-90 will remain open during the day.

During the week-long closure, drive around Lake Washington via I-405 and reconnect with Interstate 5 or bite the bullet, pay for a GoodtoGo! pass and take 520. Keep in mind, the I-90 express lanes will not be open and some I-90 ramps will be closed. Ramp closures will add extra pressure on Bellevue Way Southeast.

The DOT estimates 45 minutes to an hour range for travel times during the morning rush with the heaviest volumes between 7a.m. and 11 a.m. The afternoon commute is expected to turn heavy as early as 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Unlike the expansion joint repairs on I-5, earlier this summer, the contractors for this project need a full week to replace the joints due to their size and how deeply they're embedded into the concrete.

Bottom line: there's no easy solution or quick fixes to getting around the inevitable gridlock. As always, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter (@ParisJKOMO). I would love to hear the creative ways you are getting to work.

Crews hope to complete their work and reopen the lanes on Friday, July 25 at 5 a.m.