As expected, construction work on eastbound Interstate 90 through downtown Spokane caused a major backup Monday.
The slowdown started about midafternoon and continued on through rush hour.
Earlier, light traffic on Monday morning was moving easily through a construction zone on eastbound I-90.
Drivers are merging to two eastbound lanes in the area between Division and Altamont streets.
The new lane restrictions are in place so that a contractor can repair expansion joints and broken concrete panels, according to Al Gilson, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation.
The freeway bridges over Third Avenue need maintenance, including repair to expansion joints, officials said.
West Company Inc., of Airway Heights, has a $1.6 million state contract for the work.
The eastbound lane restrictions will continue until May 26. The freeway will have all of its lanes open during the Memorial Day weekend.
After Memorial Day, lane restrictions will be in place on both the eastbound and westbound lanes through June 22, when completion is expected.
The freeway carries about 100,000 vehicles a day on average, which can result in backups even when all of the lanes are open.
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