Clock is ticking on I-90 lane closures | Letter

The clock is ticking for the commuters, carpoolers, truckers and buses that use the I-90 corridor; a daily average of 159,000 by WSDOT’s 2015 count. On June 1st, the I-90 center roadway closes for 6+ years, the amount of time Sound Transit says it needs to build Eastlink tracks across the bridge. We will all feel the big squeeze.

I am among a group of citizens concerned about the “R8A” lane configuration of the outer lanes.

In two months, we will drive on four narrower, 11 foot wide lanes, with no breakdown shoulder. It’s a configuration that has failed in other parts of the country, rendering one bridge in Ohio, along a similarly critical interstate corridor, “functionally obsolete.”

I support those who have called for leaving the center corridor of I-90 open for a trial period while state transportation officials assess the safety and effectiveness of four skinny lanes. If there is a collision or breakdown, those center lanes can be used for diverted traffic; the release valve for backed-up traffic and emergency service vehicles.

Three members of the Mercer Island and Eastside communities have asked transportation committees in the Washington state House and Senate to adopt budget provisos that would allow for updated environmental impact studies and an independent valuation of the center roadway’s worth, among other things.

I urge Senator Curtis King and Representative Judy Clibborn to adopt these provisos, keeping the I-90 center lanes open for a trial period in the event the four-lane set-up needs to be reevaluated.

Hilary Benson

Mercer Island