Interstate 90 Western Terminus: Seattle, Washington

Western Terminus - Interstate 5 - Seattle, Washington
Perspective from Interstate 90 west
Interstate 90 west crosses Lake Washington via the Lacey V. Murrow Memorial Bridge between Mercer Island and Seattle. This is a floating bridge, made of concrete yet supported by pontoons. The original floating bridge (eastbound lanes) opened in 1940, sank in 1990, and was replaced thereafter. A parallel floating bridge (westbound lanes) was opened to traffic in June 1989. Photo taken 08/29/06.
The first Interstate 5 sign assembly on westbound Interstate 90 appears after the Lake Washington floating bridge and prior to the Mount Baker Ridge Tunnel. The next exit is Exits 3B-A, Rainier Avenue, followed by Exits 2B-A, Interstate 5. Photo taken 08/29/06.
Seattle - Portal to the Pacific is inscribed over the entrance to the Mount Baker Ridge Tunnel that carries Interstate 90 west into downtown Seattle. Photo taken 08/29/06.
Interstate 90 enters its final mile at the Exits 3B-A partial-cloverleaf interchange with Rainier Avenue in the Mt. Baker section of Seattle. Rainier Avenue (former Washington 167) travels southeast from the International District to Columbia east of downtown Seattle. The junction with Interstate 5 (Exits 2B-A) lies 0.75 miles ahead. Photo taken by Chris Elbert (02/26/05).
Westbound Interstate 90 reaches Exit 3A, Rainier Avenue south. Photo taken 08/29/06.
The four Interstate 90 westbound lanes partition into ramps for Interstate 5 south (Exit 2B), 4th Avenue South (Safeco Field, Qwest Field, Washington State Ferries, and AMTRAK), and Interstate 5 north (Exit 2A). Photo taken by Chris Elbert (02/26/05).
Traffic to Interstate 5 northbound leaves Interstate 90 west for Everett, Mt. Vernon, Bellingham, and Vancouver, British Columbia. Photo taken 08/29/06.
Reaching Exit 2B, Interstate 5 north to Everett and Vancouver, B.C., westbound Interstate 90 assumes a double decked freeway configuration. Look for the ramp to southbound Interstate 5 on the left side. Photo taken 08/29/06.
The eastbound lanes of Interstate 90 travel above the westbound lanes through the Interstate 5 interchange. Exit 2A leaves the freeway adjacent to the Interstate 5 north ramp to Interstate 90 east. Interstate 5 southbound travels 27 miles south to Tacoma and 166 miles to Portland, Oregon. Photo taken 08/29/06.
Freeway ends advisory sign situated west of the Interstate 5 off-ramps as Interstate 90 nears its intersection with 4th Avenue South. Photo taken 08/29/06.
Interstate 90 west emerges from the double-decked viaduct near Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners Baseball club. Interstate 90 eastbound begins above from Royal Brougham Way east. Photos taken 08/29/06 and by Chris Elbert (02/26/05).
An overhead sign advises city center traffic to use the left lane and for connections to either sports venue to use the right lane. Photo taken 08/29/06.
Washington 519 northbound travels 4th Avenue south to Royal Brougham Way west to the Alaskan Way and the Washington State Ferries. The state highway parallels the Washington 99 Alaskan Way Viaduct. QWest Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks Football franchise, lies north of the Interstate 90 intersection with 4th Avenue. Photo taken by Chris Elbert (02/26/05).
Interstate 90 eastbound sign bridge directing traffic to the various downtown area destinations at the freeway conclusion. In the background is the former eastbound beginning of Interstate 90. A jersey barrier barricades the on-ramp at the intersection with 4th Avenue South. Photo taken 08/29/06.
Westbound Interstate 90 ends at this traffic signal with 4th Avenue South. Turn right to join Washington 519 north (4th Avenue South southbound) to the ferry docks. Photo taken 08/29/06.
Perspective from 4th Avenue South (southbound)
4th Avenue southbound crosses a viaduct over the Amtrak lines below. Upon descending back to street level, 4th Avenue intersects the western end of Interstate 90 and westbound beginning of Washington 519. Washington 519 travels south along 4th Avenue to Royal Brougham Way west. Interstate 90 curves to the southwest than southeast, crossing over the Washington 519 turn from 4th Avenue to Royal Brougham Way. The freeway parallels Royal Brougham Way to the east as it enters the Exit 2 stack interchange with nearby Interstate 5. Photo taken 08/29/06.
Use the right two lanes of 4th Avenue South southbound to connect to Interstate 90 and Interstate 5. The next signal is for Royal Brougham Way. Photo taken 08/29/06.
Washington 519 north turns right (west) onto Royal Brougham Way to connect to the Seattle Ferry Terminal. Ferry service to Bainbridge and Bremerton is available via Washington 519. Continue south to the ferry to Vashon Island. Photo taken 08/29/06.
Northbound Washington 519 turns west onto Royal Brougham Way. The junction with eastbound Interstate 90 is just ahead at the diamond interchange. Photo taken 08/29/06.
Royal Brougham Way connects to Safeco Field and Qwest Field. The diamond interchange with Edgar Martinez Drive, which connects to eastbound Interstate 90, is located just ahead. This area was reconstructed to accommodate the access point to Interstate 90 as a result of redevelopment of this area. Photo taken 08/29/06.
4th Avenue southbound at the new entry point to Interstate 90 eastbound. Traffic bound for the freeway ascends to a signalized intersection with an elevated crossing for Royal Brougham Way. At the top of the ramp, drivers can turn west for the Washington State Ferries or east onto the freeway beginning of Interstate 90. Photo taken 08/29/06.
A look at the diagrammatic sign posted at the 4th Avenue South on-ramp to Interstate 90 east and Edgar Martinez Drive westbound. The first overhead for Interstate 90 exists to the left (see perspective from Interstate 90 east). Photo taken by Chris Elbert (02/26/05).
Perspective from Interstate 90 east
Exit 2A leaves the fledgling Interstate 90 east one quarter mile east of the 4th Avenue on-ramp. Attached to the Interstate 5 sign bridge is the first eastbound reassurance marker. Photo taken 08/29/06.
Interstate 90 eastbound at the Exit 2A ramp departure onto Interstate 5 south for Tacoma and Portland, Oregon. Photo taken by Chris Elbert (02/26/05).
A left-hand off-ramp departs Interstate 90 east for Interstate 5 north to Everett, Mt. Vernon, Bellingham, and Vancouver, British Columbia. Photo taken by Chris Elbert (02/26/05).
A non-cutout shield is in place for the 2nd reassurance shield for Interstate 90 east. In the distance is the 12th Avenue over crossing and the Pacific Medical Center. The only exit (not profiled) is Exit 3, Rainier Avenue. Photo taken by Chris Elbert (02/26/05).
A short distance later, eastbound Interstate 90 enters the Mount Baker Ridge Tunnel. Completed in June 1989, the seven-mile stretch of Interstate 90 between downtown Seattle and Bellevue includes upgrades to the Mount Baker Ridge Tunnel and the Lacey V. Murrow Memorial (Lake Washington Floating) Bridge. The Mount Baker Ridge Tunnel is the world's largest diameter soft earth tunnel. Photo taken 08/29/06.
On the other side of the Mount Baker Ridge Tunnel, eastbound Interstate 90 crosses Lake Washington via the Lacey V. Murrow Memorial Bridge. On the opposite shore is Mercer Island. Photo taken 08/29/06.
Perspective from Washington 519/Alaskan Way south
Washington 519 serves as the connection between the Seattle Ferry Terminal and Interstate 90. It begins at the intersection of Yesler Way and Alaskan Way, follows Alaskan Way south to Royal Brougham Way, follows Royal Brougham Way east to 4th Avenue South. Logically, Washington 519 should turn south on 4th Avenue South for one block to connect with Interstate 90 at the interchange with Edgar Martinez Drive (Atlantic Street). However, southbound Washington 519 still turns north for one block on 4th Avenue South, then ends at the point where traffic from westbound Interstate 90 feeds into the street grid. Originally, there was a connection onto eastbound Interstate 90 at this point, but that was eliminated with the completion of the nearby sports facilities. These signs are posted on southbound Washington 519/Alaskan Way at the Washington Street intersection, which is one block south of Yesler Way and the Seattle Ferry Terminal. Note the older Interstate 5 and Interstate 90 shields posted. Photo taken 08/30/06.
Between Yesler Way and Royal Brougham Way, Washington 519 travels south along Alaskan Way within the shadow of the Alaskan Way viaduct (Washington 99/former U.S. 99). After about ten blocks, Washington 519 turns east here at Royal Brougham Way. Photo taken 08/30/06.
Royal Brougham Way is a very busy thoroughfare that connects Alaskan Way with Interstate 90 and 4th Avenue South. Although it is designated as Washington 519, signage consistently points to the pending junction with Interstate 90 and Interstate 5. To the left (north) is Qwest Field, and to the right is Safeco Field. Photo taken 08/30/06.
Eastbound Royal Brougham Way (southbound Washington 519) passes by Occidental Street under the shadow of Safeco Field. Through traffic is signed with a truck route trailblazer. Photo taken 08/30/06.
To connect to Interstate 90 east and Interstate 5, turn right onto 4th Avenue South from eastbound Royal Brougham Way. To follow Washington 519 south for one more block, turn left (north!) onto 4th Avenue South. Photo taken 08/30/06.
The lanes that carry westbound Interstate 90 to its end at Washington 519 sweep over the intersection of Royal Brougham Way and 4th Avenue South. Turn left onto northbound 4th Avenue South for the final one block of southbound Washington 519. Photo taken 08/30/06.
Upon turning north onto 4th Avenue South, a reassurance shield for southbound Washington 519 is posted! This is the first reassurance shield since the intersection of Alaskan Way and Royal Brougham Way. This state designation is short-lived; it ends at the next traffic signal. This is also confusing because we are traveling due north at this point. Photo taken 08/30/06.
At this traffic signal, motorists from westbound Interstate 90 connect to 4th Avenue South. There are no turns permitted from 4th Avenue South. Washington 519 ends at this point. A left turn onto eastbound Interstate 90 used to be permitted here, but that access point was moved two blocks south to the 4th Avenue South/Edgar Martinez interchange when the new sports facilities were constructed. Photo taken 08/30/06.
The former access ramp to eastbound Interstate 90 is still visible, with barricades preventing access. Photo taken 08/30/06.
Perspective from 1st Avenue South (southbound)
First Avenue South parallels Fourth Avenue South to the west of the sports facilities (Qwest Field and Safeco Field). There are signs along the street that point the way to Interstate 90 and Interstate 5 via Edgar Martinez Drive (Atlantic Street), although access may also be had via 4th Avenue South with connections by either Royal Brougham Way or Holgate Street. This sign bridge is posted along southbound 1st Avenue South at Royal Brougham Way (Washington 519). Photo taken 08/30/06.
Shortly after the Royal Brougham Way (Washington 519) intersection, signs along southbound First Avenue South advise that traffic to Interstate 90 east and Interstate 5 should prepare to turn left on Edgar Martinez Drive. We do not have Edgar Martinez Drive profiled here due to the game-day traffic for the Seattle Mariners at the time of our visit. Photo taken 08/30/06.
Southbound First Avenue South meets Edgar Martinez Drive/Atlantic Street at this traffic signal. For motorists unable to make a left turn here en route to Interstate 90 east, continue south to the next traffic signal (at Holgate Street), then turn north onto Fourth Avenue South. Photo taken 08/30/06.
Perspective from Washington 519/Alaskan Way north
This set of pictures shows the logical continuation of westbound traffic leaving Interstate 90 west and following Washington 519 north to the Seattle Ferry Terminal. While we don't have coverage of westbound Royal Brougham Way, we do have the following pictures of the final distance into the ferry terminal. The left lane connects Washington 519/Alaskan Way to the Seattle Ferry Terminal. Control cities of Bremerton and Bainbridge are posted on the overhead sign. This intersection is with Washington Street. Photo taken 08/30/06.
Northbound Washington 519 ends at Yesler Way; Alaskan Way continues north along the Seattle waterfront. Photo taken 08/30/06.
Washington 519 ends at the Seattle Ferry Terminal. The ferry offers connections across Puget Sound. Photo taken 08/30/06.
Perspective from Interstate 5 south
The first appearance of an Interstate 90 shield on southbound Interstate 5 appears within the infamous Mercer Street merge (Exit 167). Interstate 5 south will split into a local/express configuration, with the left lanes offering no downtown exits and the right lanes connecting to Interstate 90 east and downtown off-ramps. Photo taken 08/29/06.
The interchange with Interstate 90 is Exit 164. Use this exit to connect to Washington 519 en route to the Seattle Ferry Terminal and to Amtrak. In addition, Interstate 90 ends at the foot of Safeco Field and Qwest Field, so local access at Exit 164 connects to the sports facilities. Photo taken 08/29/06.
Southbound Interstate 5 reaches Exit 167, Mercer Street west to the Seattle Center and Space Needle. Continue south on Interstate 5 to downtown Seattle and the junction with Interstate 90. Photo taken 08/29/06.
Through traffic on southbound Interstate 5 should stay in the left lanes, while local traffic and traffic connecting to Interstate 90 en route to Spokane should use the right lanes. Photo taken 08/29/06.
Southbound Interstate 5 next reaches Exit 166, Stewart Street and Denny Way. The Interstate 90 split is about a mile ahead. Photo taken 08/29/06.
The connection to Interstate 90 from Interstate 5 south is found at Exit 164. This sign is posted prior to Exit 165A, which connects to Seattle University and community college. Photo taken 08/29/06.
Although Interstate 90 does not end at Interstate 5, the junction is the first major interchange for Interstate 90 headed eastbound. This southbound Interstate 5 photo displays the one-half mile overhead for Exit 164/Interstate 90. Interstate 5 travels underneath the Washington State Convention and Trade Center as it delivers motorists downtown via Exit 165B to Union Street and to nearby Exit 165A to James Street. Photo taken 08/29/06.
Reemerging from the Washington State Convention and Trade Center, Interstate 5 prepares to again submerge, this time under Freeway Park. This occurs while southbound traffic departs for Downtown Seattle via Exit 165A to James Street. Lane allocations are now put into play for the forthcoming Exit 164 stack interchange with Interstate 90. A lengthy collector distributor roadway carries motorists to the Exit 164 destinations ahead. This collector distributor roadway features connections with adjacent Airport Way and Dearborn Street. Compare the signage from 2001 with the signs from 2006: The sign showing Interstate 90 was removed during that time. Photos taken 08/29/06 and by Jim Teresco and Rob Foulis (6/27/01).
Southbound Interstate 5 prepares to split at Exit 164. Still signed as To Interstate 90 east to Bellevue and Spokane, this exit also offers local connections to the sports facilities and downtown Seattle. This ramp leads onto a collector distributor lane that is shown in the next photobox. Photo taken 08/29/06.
Use Exit 164 (Interstate 90) to Airport Way and 4th Avenue South, which lead to Safeco Field and Qwest Field as well as the Seattle Ferry Terminal and Amtrak. Photo taken 08/30/06.
Southbound Interstate 5 splits into an express/local configuration at this point. Interstate 90, downtown, ferry, sports, and Amtrak traffic should use the local lanes. Through traffic should follow Interstate 5 south (left lanes). Photo taken 08/30/06.
Now on the collector distributor (local) lanes, a series of exits ensue: Exit 164D, Dearborn Street (to downtown Seattle); Exit 164C, Interstate 90 east (to Spokane and points east); Exit 164B, 4th Avenue South (to Seattle Ferry Terminal and Amtrak via Washington 519 north); and Exit 164A, Airport Way (to all sports facilities). Traffic may continue south to return to the main lanes of Interstate 5. Photo taken 08/30/06.
The left two lanes of the collector distributor lanes exits onto Interstate 90 east (Exit 164C), while the right lane provides access to Exit 164D (Dearborn Street), Exit 164B (4th Street South), and Exit 164A (Airport Way). Photo taken 08/30/06.
At the same point, the collector distributor lanes split: left lanes connect to Exit 164C, Interstate 90 east, and the right lane exits onto Dearborn Street (Exit 164D). Traffic from the 6th Street on-ramp is now added to the mix, and thus a return to Interstate 5 is afforded. The eastern suburb of Bellevue is featured as a secondary control city. Photo taken 08/30/06.
The next exit is Exit 164B, 4th Avenue South, followed by Exit 164A, Airport Way. The ramp to eastbound Interstate 90 is visible to the left from the collector distributor lanes. Photo taken 08/29/06.
The mainline of Interstate 90 crosses over the Interstate 5 local lanes as the collector distributor lanes reach Exit 164A, Airport Way (to sports facilities Qwest Field and Safeco Field). Photo taken 08/29/06.
Perspective from Interstate 5 north
Interstate 5 north two miles south of the junction with Interstate 90 east (Exit 164A) near the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Seattle. Exit 163 leaves the freeway here for the West Seattle Bridge and Columbian Way east to South Seattle. There is no direct access onto Interstate 90 west from Interstate 5 north. Photo taken 08/30/06.
Northbound Interstate 5 reaches Exit 163, West Seattle Bridge to West Seattle and Columbian Way southeast. Photo taken 08/30/06.
The West Seattle Bridge, which shows as Spokane Street on some maps, provides a freeway connection from Interstate 5 to West Seattle. A major interchange with several levels of flyover ramps offers connections to the spur freeway as well as Columbian Way. Photo taken 08/30/06.
Interstate 5 maintains eight overall lanes through the directional interchange with Interstate 90. The right-hand lane becomes exit only for Exit 164A to Interstate 90 east. Interstate 90 crosses Lake Washington between Mt. Baker in Seattle and Mercer Island east of Interstate 5. Photo taken 08/30/06.
Exit 164A partitions into ramps for Interstate 90 east and a collector distributor roadway north to Dearborn, James, and Madison Streets. The collector distributor roadway joins the westbound off-ramp of Interstate 90 onto Interstate 5 north. Photo taken 08/30/06.
Traffic to Interstate 90 east leaves Interstate 5 north via Exit 164A as the Seattle skyline looms in the background. Interstate 90 meets Interstate 405 at Exit 10 and Interstate 82 at Exit 110. The Exit 164A c/d roadway returns to the Interstate 5 mainline north of Madison Street near the First Hill community of Seattle. Photos taken by Chris Elbert (02/26/05) and on 08/30/06.
FORMER Perspective from 4th Avenue South (Prior to Construction of Arenas)
The relatively new home to Major League Baseball's Seattle Mariners, Safeco Field features a retractable roof and a world class entertainment experience from its location at 1st Avenue and Royal Brougham Way. In the foreground is the former beginning of Interstate 90 east as viewed from the northeast street corner of the Interstate 90/Washington 519/4th Avenue intersection. Traffic to Interstate 90 east now must continue south on 4th Avenue to the on-ramp from Royal Brougham Way. Photo taken by Jeff Royston (09/99).
A more personal look at the former Interstate 90 begin shield assembly. The structure in the background is part of the Stadium Exhibit Center (under construction at the time of this photograph). To the north of this complex is the recently opened stadium (QWest Field) for the National Football League Seattle Seahawks. Not only did the Seahawks get a new stadium in 2002, but they also got a new league and division when they jumped from the AFC West to the NFC West. Photo taken by Jim Teresco (9/99).
Seen peering from the backdrop of the begin Interstate 90 photograph above, was the first of many eastbound reassurance shields for Interstate 90. If this was the first shield, than how is it that Interstate 90 was already at milepost 2? Perhaps this question can be answered when factoring in the Washington 519 intermingling at the terminus. It may indeed be two miles from the state highway beginning at the Puget Sound Ferry Docks at Elliott Bay to Interstate 90. The exit numbers also correspond to this notion, as the Interstate 5 interchange is not Exit 1 but 2. Photo taken by Jim Teresco and Rob Foulis (06/27/01).

Page Updated September 24, 2006.

privacy policy