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Friday, February 20, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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On the Road

Commute sweeping shouldn't be done

Seattle Times Eastside bureau

Questions?


Got an Eastside traffic question? Send it to The Seattle Times Eastside News Bureau, 1200 112th Ave. N.E., Suite C-145, Bellevue, WA 98004. Fax: 425-453-0449. E-mail: east@seattletimes.com.

Q. Why does the state Department of Transportation send their street-sweeping truck and accompanying "barricade" trucks out to clean westbound Interstate 90 in Issaquah and northbound Interstate 405 near Highway 520 during peak morning commute hours (8 a.m.)?

Isn't traffic congested enough without this further distraction and restriction to the lanes? Many times the trucks are moving at 5 mph in the car-pool lanes, forcing commuters over into other lanes.

A. The state doesn't close lanes to complete routine maintenance like sweeping until after 9 a.m. because it doesn't want to disrupt rush-hour traffic, said Greg Phipps, state Department of Transportation (DOT) spokesman. But there are rare exceptions, he said.

Crews occasionally sweep wide highway shoulders before 9 a.m. if officials determine the work won't disrupt traffic. Metered or congested ramps are also occasionally swept before 9 a.m. because traffic is already so congested that the work doesn't make the situation any worse, Phipps said.

If you see state DOT sweeping crews closing a lane between 6 and 9 a.m. on a weekday, call 206-440-4697 to report it.

Q. Can you tell me what's going on with the road project in Sammamish along 228th Avenue Southeast? It seems as though construction has been going on forever on the final section. And what happened to those extra lights from the early part of the project, the ones that were pulled out after residents complained?

A. The last section of this three-mile project was supposed to be done by the end of 2003, said Tim Larson, spokesman for Sammamish. It was delayed for a couple of reasons, he said: It took the utility companies longer that expected to move their poles, and the weather this winter has been especially wet.

It could be a month or two more before crews can apply the final layer of asphalt — they have to wait until the temperature is 55 degrees and rising, Larson said.

The $30 million widening project, which started in 1999, stretches from just south of Issaquah-Pine Lake Road to just north of Inglewood Hill Road. The two-lane roadway without sidewalks has been transformed into a five-lane boulevard with a median strip, turn pockets, lights and sidewalks.

As for those lights installed early on in the southern section, which some residents complained were too bright: The city is recycling them as promised, using them to finish off the northern sections of the project, Larson said.

Early warning

Bellevue — The onramps from Northeast Eighth Street to southbound Interstate 405 will be closed each night, along with the southbound collector-distributor, from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. Monday and Tuesday. The southbound Interstate 405 on- and offramps to and from westbound Northeast Eighth Street will be closed Wednesday and Thursday nights from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.

The northbound Interstate 405 offramp to Northeast Fourth Street will also be closed from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. Monday through Thursday and 10 p.m. Friday to 7 a.m. Saturday

Issaquah — The intersection of State Route 18 and Southeast 200th Street will be permanently closed beginning on Monday to allow crews room to build new eastbound lanes on State Route 18 and a new Southeast 200th Street overpass.

Also, a single lane on eastbound Interstate 90 will be closed from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 7 a.m. to noon on Friday between Front Street and Sunset Way.

Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company

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