The 2009 I-405/SR 167 Executive Advisory Group selected Option 4, shown above (click for larger version), as a viable option for improving the I-405 corridor. This option adds express toll lanes between Renton and Lynnwood.
Express toll lanes on I-405 from downtown Bellevue to Lynnwood are under construction (click for larger version of map). Funding gaps still exist in southern portions of the corridor.
The Eastside Corridor, which stretches down I-405 and SR 167 to SR 512, is the only north-south highway alternative to I-5 in the Puget Sound region.
WSDOT has looked at a range of options for transportation improvement to address the projected increase in population and employment along this corridor. Successful examples are the I-405 Corridor Master Plan (pdf 174 kb) and the SR 167 Valley Freeway Plan. Both plans acknowledge the importance of connecting I-405 and SR 167 to form a seamless corridor, and together they form the basis for the I-405/SR 167 Corridor vision.
The I-405/SR 167 Corridor Master Plan includes new highway lanes, improved interchanges, express toll lanes, expanded transit service including bus rapid transit (BRT) and expanded vanpool programs. Other features, such as the SR 167 Express Toll Lanes Pilot Project, the SR 167 extension in Pierce County and the I-405 express toll lanes will connect the entire corridor with a system better equipped to manage traffic demands in the future.
The first phase of I-405 express toll lanes is currently being constructed in the 17-mile stretch between NE 6th Street in Bellevue and I-5 in Lynnwood, with a planned opening date of mid-2015.
Express toll lanes provide a choice
Express toll lanes give drivers the choice to use the carpool lanes by paying a toll. Similar to the SR 167 HOT lanes, express toll lanes operate as an expressway within a highway while allowing toll-free trips for transit and vanpools.
Express toll lanes offer benefits
Express toll lanes will better use the existing I-405 highway lanes and provide drivers with a more reliable trip. These lanes will use dynamic toll rates, which change based on real-time demand and congestion. The toll you see when you enter the lane is the price you will pay for the trip.
WSDOT is building express toll lanes because they:
- Operate efficiently, moving more people and offering a more reliable trip.
- Manage demand to improve speed and reliability.
- Strategically add capacity to increase throughput.
- Reduce congestion, improving mobility for transit, freight, and drivers in all lanes.
- Generate revenue by charging a user fee for non-carpool vehicles to use the express toll lanes. Revenue could help fund future corridor improvements, such as on I-405 from Renton to Bellevue and at the SR 167/I-405 interchange.
I-405 carpool lanes are at capacity
In early 2013, WSDOT began discussing carpool policies for the I-405 express toll lanes with the Washington State Transportation Commission and the I-405/SR 167 Corridor Executive Advisory Group. We are studying occupancy requirements for free use of the I-405 express toll lanes because the current carpool lanes, requiring just two people, are at capacity and slow-moving during peak periods. With express toll lanes, the toll can help manage how congested the lanes are so they can keep traffic moving at free flow speeds.
After weighing the advantages and disadvantages of each proposed policy option, the commission will decide, before the new lanes open, who is exempt from tolls or receives a discount. The options currently under consideration are:
- 2+ carpools ride free
- 3+ carpools ride free
- 3+ carpools ride free at peak hours and 2+ carpools ride free at other times
- All carpools (2+) pay a discounted rate
Toll rate setting begins in late 2013
As with all other state toll facilities, the Washington State Transportation Commission will set toll rates and exemptions for the I-405 express toll lanes. Although the toll will change in real-time based on congestion, the commission will set a minimum and maximum toll rate, similar to the SR 167 HOT lanes.
The commission will begin the toll rate setting process in late 2013. They’ll host public input meetings and welcome written comments throughout the toll rate setting process.
Express toll lanes will keep traffic moving
Essentially, express toll lane rates will be set by you, the driver, and depend on how far you are traveling. The toll will automatically increase and decrease based on how many people have chosen to use the lanes.
The toll automatically increases when traffic in the express toll lanes is heavier and decreases when traffic is lighter, ensuring the express toll lanes keep traffic moving at free flow speeds.
As you approach the entry point to the express toll lanes, you’ll see a sign with up to three destinations. The toll you see for your destination at that time is the price you will pay for your trip.
Public Information Contact:
I-405 Project Team Office
600 - 108th Avenue NE
Bellevue, WA 98004
WSDOT Toll Division