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East Link Rail Construction Begins June 3: Commuter Resources

May 8, 2017 - With just under 30 days remaining before the Center Roadway on I-90 permanently closes for light rail construction on June 3, it's a good time to get acquainted with the resources that will help residents adjust to the short and long-term impacts. The drivers likely to feel this the hardest are morning rush-hour commuters headed to downtown Seattle. As part of the upcoming changes, WSDOT also plans to restrict the Island Crest Way entrance to westbound I-90 to HOVs only, starting June 3.

The City will be doing everything it can to help residents adapt, and later this month, every Island address will receive a comprehensive brochure in the mail explaining the process. New material will also be added to the City's light rail web pages shortly.

Some advance highlights:
  • Some of the first changes drivers will see this month are temporary traffic improvement measures near I-90 in various locations (see map image) to help control the flow of vehicles once construction begins. Most notable will be the addition of temporary traffic signals along North Mercer Way at the intersections of 76th Avenue SE and 77th Ave SE. Three additional WSDOT traffic cameras will be installed to help adjust traffic flows. More left-turn queueing space will be striped at ICW and N Mercer Way; and a bus-only bypass will be striped at the 76th Ave SE westbound on-ramp. WSDOT will also do some lane prep work for a possible future alternating, 2-lane metered entrance at W Mercer Way (i.e. this would remove today's HOV bypass).

  • Many drivers have heard by now that the South Bellevue Park & Ride will close on May 30 for rail construction. This will put more pressure on the MI Park & Ride, such that carpooling, cycling, walking, and other options will become even more important. Here are a few resources for commuters:

  • For a very useful summary of all available regional transit resources, all residents are encouraged to check the Just One Trip regional transit website: it is frequently enhanced with new information.

More information will be available over the coming weeks, and the City encourages all commuters to sign up now for Sound Transit construction alerts to be aware of changes in rail construction plans. This can be found at



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