Get ready for travel delays as warmer weather brings on the start of the 2011 construction season on Snoqualmie Pass.

Starting Tuesday, March 29, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and contractor Max J. Kuney will  pick up where they left off last fall to continue building a wider, safer and more reliable five-mile stretch of I-90 from Hyak to Keechelus Dam.

“We are getting ready for one of the busiest road construction seasons in recent memory,” said WSDOT Regional Administrator Don Whitehouse. “We’re asking drivers to plan ahead so they can avoid long delays this summer. Being patient during construction can be a challenge, but we know drivers will appreciate less congestion, fewer closures due to avalanche control work, and smoother pavement once we are finished.”

Drivers will need to plan ahead for added travel time from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, March 29 due to a westbound lane closure on I-90 near the snowshed (milepost 57 to milepost 58). Drivers may also experience minor delays for rolling slowdowns Tuesday, March 29 through Friday, April 1 during daylight hours, while crews bring in more equipment.

Crews will resume rock blasting along the rock slopes near the snowshed east of Snoqualmie Pass later this spring. These controlled blasts will give WSDOT space to widen I-90 from four to six lanes. Drivers will need to plan for hour-long closures that will start an hour before sunset Monday through Thursday; travelers should check the What’s Happening on I-90 Web page for specific blasting times.

This multi-year $551 million project is funded by the 2005 gas tax. During the next six years construction crews will be busy:

  • Adding a lane in each direction
  • Replacing deteriorating concrete pavement
  • Building a new, wider and longer snowshed
  • Replacing and adding bridges and culverts
  • Stabilizing rock slopes
  • Extending chain-up/off areas

Starting Monday, April 4, WSDOT and contractor ICON Materials will resume work on a separate $19.3 million project on eastbound I-90 between Easton and the Cle Elum River to replace the right lane and sections of the most deteriorated concrete panels in the left lane. This project will extend the life of the roadway and provide a smoother ride for nearly 10 miles of eastbound I-90. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funded this project.

During construction, drivers can expect daytime lane restrictions prior to Memorial Day and after Labor Day. Between the holidays, crews will restrict lanes only at night to reduce delays for summer travelers. For the most up-to-date construction information, visit the What’s Happening on I-90 Web page.