KIRO 7 gets inside look at I-90 joint replacement project expected to snarl traffic

by: Joanna Small Updated:


Today KIRO 7 got an up-close look at the highway project expected to cause seven mile back-ups around the Sound at the height of rush-hour traffic.  Work began last night to replace two massive expansion joints on the Interstate 90 bridge between 405 and Bellevue Way.

Washington State Department of Transportation knows it's going to be bad.

"I think we could see back-ups that extend seven miles or more,” spokesperson Kris Olsen told us Saturday.

Drivers think it will be even worse.

"I'm going to take vacation,” one man said last night.

"That was gridlock without any of these closures so I can just imagine how bad it's going to be,” another explained.

So the department is giving us this behind the cones look at the grueling work being done to replace two massive deteriorating expansion joints in hopes that commuters will be more forgiving.  So far people we've talked to have just been frustrated.

“From here to Renton?  It will be a nightmare,” one driver told us.

And we are less than 24 hours into the project.  The old joints haven't even come out yet-- that will happen tonight once crews are finished chipping away the old concrete.  We got a look at the combined 29 tons of steel last week.  That is expected to arrive on site tonight as well.