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WSDOT Refuses to Honor Historic I-90 Access Agreements: Council Discussion Feb 6

Feb 2, 2017 - WSDOT Refuses to Honor Historic I-90 Access Agreements. Council to Discuss City Response to WSDOT Letter at February 6 Meeting.

Last night, the City of Mercer Island received a formal letter from Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) Secretary Roger Millar detailing his decision on short-term access options to I‑90 once light rail construction commences in June 2017.

The letter identified no short-term solutions to local traffic impacts expected during light rail construction, no adjustments in schedule, and commits WSDOT only to further studies in the long-term.

“By issuing the letter, WSDOT has made it clear that it intends to ignore access agreements dating back to 1976,” said Mayor Bruce Bassett.  “Instead, WSDOT is condoning the diversion of morning commuter traffic headed to I-90 away from the major arterial designed for such a purpose (Island Crest Way), and onto much smaller secondary streets with no sidewalks or centerlines, poor sightlines, and which pass several busy school crossings.”

The letter stems from a meeting hosted by State Representative Judy Clibborn in Olympia last week, at which top officials representing all parties in the I-90 access negotiations presented data on the expected impacts of changes to traffic flow at the north end of the Island. The City also continues to work with the Governor’s office, Representative Adam Smith, and King County Executive Dow Constantine to find a satisfactory solution.

At the meeting, the City advocated on behalf of the community, and insisted that WSDOT honor historic agreements guaranteeing Single Occupant Vehicle (SOV) access to westbound I-90 via Island Crest Way, as well as future SOV use of the new “R8A” lanes.

The City Council intends to hold a full discussion of next steps, including potential legislative fixes or the possibility of litigation, and will devote its entire February 6 Council Meeting to the topic.

The public is invited to submit questions in advance via the City’s comment form:, or via Email, and Council will endeavor to address as many as possible in the time allotted.

[Council meetings can be viewed live on MI-TV Ch 21 or online]

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For more information, contact Ross Freeman, Communication Mgr at:, or (206) 275-7662


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