Eastside leaders fed up with traffic backups

SNOQUALMIE, Wash. — Bumper to bumper traffic is a way of life throughout the Puget Sound, but one Eastside mayor is fed up with the traffic around I-90 and Highway 18.

The interchange has seen a tremendous amount of new traffic in just the past few years with major population growth in east and southeast King County.

Drivers coming from Maple Valley and the south end up Highway 18 get stuck in miles-long traffic while trying to get onto I-90.

It’s same thing on the other side--people coming from Snoqualmie and Fall City are faced with long backups every morning.

City leaders in Snoqulamie, North Bend, and Issaquah say they are fed up with it.

The problem is that the Washington State Department of Transportation widened Highway 18, but then didn't make improvements to the on or off-ramps to I-90, causing a major bottleneck.

The mayor of Snoqualmie warned transportation officials about the concerns a decade ago and thought they would finally get some resolution with the Connecting Washington transportation package, but it didn’t happen.

“The big disappointment is the designs for that improvement aren't scheduled to happen until 2023, with the improvements not being completed until 2028. So, that's just not viable.  That's not acceptable, because it's really a broken and dangerous situation now,” said Snoqualmie Mayor Matt Larson.

The danger really comes during the evening commute, when cars are at a standstill on eastbound I-90 getting on to Highway 18, while cars are whizzing by at 70 mph in the next lane.

There have been several horrific crashes the past several years when drivers hit the brakes to pull in or out of the speeding traffic.

Larson is asking lawmakers for $16 million to get some short-term fixes in the works.

He's hopeful they can get wider on and off-ramps so no other people are injured or killed.