I-90: The Formative Years

Check out these pics of our lovely bridge from when its concrete was freshly poured. Thanks to VintageSeattle, one of my favorite local blogs, for the blast from the past. I-90 over Mercer IslandWe all live in a town with a very large moat, so the I-90 bridge which connects us to the East and the West sides is of great interest. To quote my mother, when she heard we were moving here, “You’re moving to an ISLAND!? In a place that has earthquakes!?”

Not one of VIntage Seattle’s pics, but nice nonetheless. Photo credit: Blinque Blinque.

Ah, but our bridge is no Alaskan Way Viaduct, it’s a strong two-span wonder with a view of Mt. Ranier on nice days and a bike lane. At the caucus in February a couple of long-time Mercer Island residents in our precinct were reminiscing about the days when this span had an alternating lane in the middle and you took your life in your hands to use it. I love stories like that- anyone else out there remember the early days of I-90 across Lake Washington?


7 responses to “I-90: The Formative Years

  1. It wasn’t the reversible lane itself that was dangerous – it was the “bulge” opening in the middle. There was something that looked from above like a snake swallowing a hollow egg. A portion of the bridge was drawn into this hollow area. Unfortunately, the rather abrupt swerve at the bulge was difficult to navigate for cars travelling at a high rate of speed in wet conditions. I understand that a number of cars went _into_ the open area of the bulge.

  2. More…the highrises at either end had gratings (like the University Bridge). Not so good in rainy conditions, particularly when trying to brake while going downhill.

    And the ultimate bad aspect of that bridge was the Eastbound entrance from Leschi. You started from a dead stop – staring back into the dim old tunnel (still in use), looking for an opening in the traffic, before trying to leap onto I90 at full speed.

  3. mercerislandblogger

    Thanks for the stories, Keith. Sounds like the I-90 bridge had some wild early years. Slippery gratings and car-swallowing bulges- I’m glad it’s grown up.

  4. I would no longer say “it’s a strong two-span wonder” that will withstand anything.

    It looked undefeatable to me prior to 1990 when part of it sank. Now, not so much.

  5. Hi there blogger friend. Thanks for including my photo of the bridge on your site. I’m wondering, though, if it would be possible to credit me, instead of Flickr, for the creation of the image. I’d much appreciate that.
    Thanks so much,

  6. mercerislandblogger

    Hey blinque_blinque, no problem. You’ll see ’em changed momentarily.

  7. Pingback: Price Trend Graphs for Mercer Island Real Estate « Surrounded By Water: A Mercer Island Blog

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