The 50-mile I-405/SR 167 corridor serves a rapidly growing region from Lynnwood to Puyallup. The region is exceeding regional population growth estimates, attracting major businesses, and adding jobs – all placing higher demand on transportation systems. To meet this growing demand, we continue a 20-year history of conferring with corridor-wide cities, counties, and transit agencies on implementing a long-term master plan vision for transportation along this vital north-south corridor. A central part of the I-405 master plan, as supported by corridor partners and directed by the Legislature, is building a corridor-wide ETL system from Puyallup to Lynnwood and supporting a high-capacity transit system, which has been identified as BRT. Improvements to our I-405/SR 167 corridor and the implementation of Sound Transit’s I-405 Stride BRT system are critical to the region’s transportation network, readiness for growth, and quality of life.
In 2015, we launched ETLs between Bellevue and Lynnwood with two ETLs in each direction between Northeast Sixth Street in Bellevue and just south of the SR 522 interchange in Bothell, and a single ETL between SR 522 and I-5. While express toll lanes have helped improve traffic and reliability on the north end of the I-405 corridor, pre-pandemic the single-lane section was experiencing heavy congestion, particularly southbound during the morning commute. The Brickyard to SR 527 Improvement Project aims to relieve some of that pressure by adding an additional express toll lane in each direction in this area. Consistent with the long-term Master Plan for the corridor, we are moving forward with these additional improvements to mobility and reliability on I-405 in Bothell and south Snohomish County.
We have worked closely with Sound Transit as the agency plans to create an inline station at the Brickyard Park and Ride in Bothell and intends to launch voter-approved Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) along I-405. This work will include shifting what was a park-and-ride facility station to an inline station at Brickyard, which will enable BRT vehicles to travel exclusively in the new ETLs between Lynnwood and Bellevue, increasing service reliability and decreasing BRT travel times. Successful BRT relies on this project’s infrastructure for a more reliable transit trip, providing better functionality to all I-405 users.
The project will contribute to economic vitality in the region by investing in key Bothell destinations and employment centers including the University of Washington (UW) Bothell/Cascadia College campus, two business parks, a commercial center with a variety of businesses supporting nearby neighborhoods and residential development. It also supports the city of Bothell's efforts to update the Canyon Park subarea plan, which cites the importance of WSDOT and Sound Transit transportation investments in this vicinity.
In 2019, the Legislature intended to fund capacity improvements between SR 522 and SR 527 through bonded toll revenue.
The revenue reductions felt by the pandemic have impacted toll revenue available to fund this project. In 2021, the Legislature included two budget provisos, directing us to conduct a financial analysis presenting options for funding and phasing corridor projects, including options to construct the SR 522 to SR 527 capacity improvements project to attempt to align with the anticipated deployment of bus rapid transit on the corridor. The program team submitted the final report to the Legislature in December 2021.
In 2022, the Legislature approved both the 2022 Supplemental Transportation Budget and the $16.8 billion Move Ahead Washington transportation package, which collectively designated $380 million to the I-405/SR 167 program. Along with the Legislature’s approval of an additional approximately $70 million in sales tax deferral, the previous $450 million funding gap has now been addressed. This critical funding allowed us to move forward with several critical projects throughout the corridor, including the Brickyard to SR 527 Improvement Project.
I-405/SR 167 Corridor Program
The Brickyard to SR 527 Improvement Project is one project that makes up the I-405/SR 167 Corridor Program.
WSDOT and the Federal Highway Administration published the Environmental Assessment (EA) for the I-405/SR 522 Vicinity to SR 527 Express Toll Lanes Improvement Project on July 2, 2020. The EA describes the purpose and need of the project and provides to the public and decision makers about environmental effects and benefits of the project.
Finding of No Significant Impact
WSDOT and the Federal Highway Administration issued the Finding of No Significant Impact and Errata for the I-405, SR 522 Vicinity to SR 527 Express Toll Lanes Improvement Project on July 29, 2021.