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WSDOT urges commuters to prepare for first post-holiday commute with SR 520 tolls

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Date:  Monday, January 02, 2012

Contact: Good To Go! customer service 1-866-936-8246.

SEATTLE – As the holiday season closes, people head back to work and school tomorrow in full force. Commuters in Central Puget Sound can expect changes to their drive, as they continue to make adjustments triggered by the start of tolling on State Route 520 last Thursday.

“Commuters on all routes around Lake Washington should expect the unexpected tomorrow,” said Toll Division Director Craig Stone of the Washington State Department of Transportation. “Hundreds of thousands of commuters will make individual decisions that affect traffic tomorrow. Some will choose to pay the toll on SR 520. Others will shift their schedule to pay a lower toll. Others will shift their route, ride the bus or stay close to home to avoid paying a toll. We’ll definitely see shifts in traffic patterns. While our ultimate goal is to improve traffic overall, it will take time, likely months, for drivers to make adjustments and for traffic patterns to settle into a new normal.”

Light traffic during the holidays helped drivers ease into new traffic patterns influenced by SR 520 tolling. Traffic data shows that tolls did not affect traffic speeds this past weekend. However, WSDOT traffic engineers expect Tuesday morning’s rush hour will be heavier than usual on alternate cross-lake routes, such as I-90 and SR 522, as well as
I-5 and I- 405. Rush hour traffic may start earlier or later than what drivers usually experience.

“Drivers have been getting ready for tomorrow’s commute by signing up for Good To Go! accounts,” said Stone. “We encourage drivers to allow extra time tomorrow, keep an eye on real-time traffic information and pack your patience while on the road.”

Good To Go! account set-up
• Starting at 5 a.m. tomorrow, customers can walk in to one of three Good To Go! customer service centers.
• Customers can call 1-866-936-8246 between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.
• Drivers can set up accounts and access their account anytime online.
• Sticker passes are available from a variety of retail stores: Safeway, Walgreens, QFC, Fred Meyer and Costco.

About tolling on the SR 520 bridge
Tolling on SR 520 is expected to raise $1 billion overall toward the $4.65 billion SR 520 bridge replacement and HOV program, which builds 12.8 miles of safety and mobility improvements from Interstate 5 in Seattle to SR 202 in Redmond. The existing SR 520 floating bridge opened to traffic in 1963, and is vulnerable to sinking during a severe storm after weathering decades of wind and waves. The new bridge will better withstand storms and move more people across the lake with a new transit/HOV lane for buses and carpools in each direction. The target date to open the new bridge to traffic is December 2014.

Hyperlinks within the news release
• Good To Go! www.wsdot.wa.gov/goodtogo
• Good To Go! retail locations www.wsdot.wa.gov/goodtogo/retail
• Good To Go! customer service www.wsdot.wa.gov/GoodToGo/contacts.htm
• Good To Go! account login https://mygoodtogo.com/olcsc/AccountLogin.do
• SR 520 Bridge Replacement and HOV Program www.wsdot.wa.gov/projects/SR520Bridge


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