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Wednesday, January 04, 2012
Good To Go! customer service 1-866-936-8246.
Morning commute continues to evolve
SEATTLE – Traffic patterns are shifting as drivers continue to adjust to tolls on the State Route 520 bridge, which consistently has faster speeds. Meanwhile, the morning commute on Interstate 90 started sooner, nearly 30 minutes earlier.
“Every day, drivers are making choices whether to avoid the toll or avoid congestion,” said Toll Director Craig Stone of the Washington State Department of Transportation. “We are seeing signs that we are edging toward that new normal for the morning commute and are closely monitoring where and when drivers are traveling to see what emerges.”
WSDOT continues to work with the tolling customer service center to identify and address all issues that emerge to make sure toll transactions are recorded accurately and customers are charged appropriately, Stone said. “So far, no large problems have developed and this is good news,” he said.
Detailed data will be available Thursday, however a snapshot of the Wednesday morning commute shows:
- SR 520 had 30 percent less eastbound traffic and 35 percent less westbound traffic during the 7-9 a.m. peak morning commute compared to normal.
- The peak I-90 Wednesday morning commute began about a half hour earlier compared to historical averages. Travel times were near the high end of the normal range.
- Traffic volumes on westbound SR 520 from Bellevue to Seattle dropped 35 percent and drivers traveled up to five minutes faster during the morning commute. The typical westbound travel time from 6-8 a.m. is 12-20 minutes.
- Traffic volumes on eastbound SR 520 from Seattle to Bellevue dropped 30 percent and drivers traveled up to 10 minutes faster. The typical eastbound travel time from 6-8 a.m. is 12-25 minutes.
- Drivers used I-90 as an alternative to SR 520. Westbound I-90 traffic volumes increased slightly and travel times were up to five minutes more than normal. The typical westbound travel time from 6-8 a.m. is 11-20 minutes.
- Eastbound I-90 from Seattle to Bellevue traffic volumes increased slightly and travel times were normal. The typical eastbound travel time from 6-8 a.m. is 11-20 minutes.
- On SR 522 from SR 202 in Woodinville to downtown Seattle, westbound traffic volumes increased slightly and travel times were within the normal range. The typical westbound travel time from 6-8 a.m. is 25-50 minutes.
- Eastbound SR 522 from Seattle to Woodinville traffic volumes increased slightly and travel times were the high end of the normal range. The typical eastbound travel time from 6-8 a.m. is 22-30 minutes.
Nearly 4,100 new Good To Go! accounts opened Jan. 3. A total of 170,497 accounts have been opened since February 2011. The 24-hour average for vehicles on SR 520 with the Good To Go! pass is at 74 percent and climbing daily. The rate of drivers using a pass during peak commute times is higher, about 81 percent.
On Jan. 3, customers received the first Good To Go! electronic statements with the SR 520 toll. Customer service center personnel listen to concerns and work to address any issues that emerge.
“We learned that some customers with a Pay By Plate account were charged 25 cents between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. when tolls are not charged. We identified 797 customers, we are in the process of crediting their accounts and taking steps to prevent any similar charges in the future,” Stone said.
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.
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