Moving Washington Adding Capacity: Building is Part of the Solution
More than $1.5 billion of design and construction work has been completed to relieve congestion and enhance safety in the central Puget Sound region. Examples include:
SR 18: Widening SR 18 to four lanes doubled the highway’s capacity and reduced travel times by up to 20 minutes in the westbound direction, while decreasing collision rates and injuries by 50 percent.
I-405: Added a lane in each direction through Kirkland and improved the NE 116th Street interchange.
I-5: Building new HOV lanes between Federal Way and Tacoma chopped more than 5 minutes from the evening commute for people in HOV lanes.
SR 527: Added a lane in each direction and improved intersections on the Bothell-Everett highway between Mill Creek and Everett.
For years WSDOT has worked to manage congestion with tools, such as high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, metered on-ramps, variable-direction express lanes and traffic cameras. Now the state is taking the challenge to a new level. By studying the most cutting-edge and successful traffic management advances in the world, WSDOT is developing smarter highway systems.
- Capacity Improvements: More than $1.5 billion of design and construction work has been completed, and projects totaling an unprecedented $6.5 billion will be completed in the next decade.
- HOV: 300 miles of HOV lanes in the central Puget Sound region make the freeways more efficient.
- Tolling: Electronic tolling on the new Tacoma Narrows Bridge and variable tolling on the SR 167 HOT Lanes Pilot Project manage traffic levels and improve flow.
- Incident Response Program: 55 incident response vehicles on the freeways to assist drivers and help keep traffic flowing.
- Traffic Management Centers: Seven Traffic Management Centers throughout the state monitor and manage traffic 24/7.
- Real-Time Traffic Information: Hundreds of traffic cameras and sensors provide real-time information about congestion, alerts and travel times, which reaches drivers through the media, 511 Travel Info and the WSDOT Web site.
- Variable Message Signs: 169 variable message signs statewide, including 80 in the central Puget Sound area keep drivers informed about traffic conditions.
- Ramp Meters: A proven means of smoothing traffic flow and increasing throughput, ramp meters also reduce collisions statewide by at least 30 percent.
- Park and Ride Lots: 294 park-and-ride lots statewide provide more than 35,000 parking stalls for transit users.
- Commute Trip Reduction: More than 1,100 worksites participate in the CTR program.
- Vanpools: Nearly 1,928 vanpools operate in the Puget Sound area, with more than 2,360 vans statewide.
- Urban Partnership: $138 million in federal Urban Partnership Agreement grants will help reduce congestion in the SR 520 corridor.
- Freight Mobility: Efficient freight movement helps ease its impact on congestion.
- Measuring Congestion: An annual report on congestion measurements is presented in the Gray Notebook.