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Five I-90 ramp meters in Spokane activate this week: Where they are located and how they work

The ramp meters in Spokane are activated when traffic flow requires them and will not be used when traffic is light, WSDOT said.

SPOKANE, Wash. — The Washington State Department of Transportation is activating five new ramp meters at high-traffic areas along Interstate 90 in Spokane over the next several weeks.

The new ramp meters are being installed to reduce crashes, relieve congestions and improve safety, WSDOT said. They are activated when traffic flow requires them and will not be used when traffic is light. WSDOT engineers will fine-tune operations and closely monitor traffic each ramp following activation, according to the agency.

The ramp meters will be activated at the following interchanges along I-90 in a phased approach:

  • April 13 - Walnut Street and Monroe Street eastbound onramps
  • April 14 - Browne Street/Division Street eastbound onramp
  • April 15 - Hamilton Street eastbound onramp
  • April 21 - Browne Street/Division Street westbound onramp

Spokane’s first ramp meter was installed in 2019 where drivers traveling north on Highway 195 merge onto eastbound I-90.

Here's how the ramp meters will work:

  • Drivers using the Walnut and Eastbound Browne/Division ramp meters will form two lanes with one vehicle being released from each lane simultaneously on green. 
  • Drivers using the Monroe and Westbound Browne/Division Ramp meters will form a single lane with one vehicle released per green light.
  • For the Eastbound Hamilton ramp meter, drivers will form two lanes and be released from alternating lanes on green.

WSDOT also created a video showing drivers how to navigate each ramp meter

WSDOT Traffic Engineer Glenn Wagemann said residents can expect more ramp meters installed in the Spokane area over the next two years. Ramp meters are being installed this summer at the Geiger Grove Interchange for eastbound traffic and at the U.S. Highway 2 eastbound location, Wagemann said.

"Those are all coming because of the large volume increase that's coming from the West Plains-Medical Lake 902 Interchange, out where Amazon's at, and that increased volume that's coming through there," Wagemann said. 

WSDOT is expecting to activate those ramp meters in 2022.