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New Express Toll Lanes Planned for I-405—Will You Pay to Zip Through Traffic?

Construction has already begun on a stretch of new toll lanes between Lynnwood and Bellevue, expected to open in 2015.

Some key changes are in the works to help traffic flow more freely through Kirkland the Eastside on I-405—one of the state's most congested freeways.

Construction is already underway on new express toll lanes between Lynnwood and NE 6th Street in downtown Bellevue. Similar to the High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes on State Route 167, I-405's express lanes will be open to solo drivers who pay an electronic toll to use the special lanes.

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Would you pay to avoid sitting in traffic on I-405? How much? Tell us in the comments section.

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The $334-million first phase is expected to open in 2015, with WSDOT planning to eventually expand the lanes to cover the entire 40-mile I-405/SR 167 corridor.

But the amount of the tolls—and whether the lanes will be free for vehicles with two or more occupants—is still up for debate. As KING 5 reported, WSDOT might increase the number of passengers needed to travel in carpool lanes on I-405, or begin charging vehicles with more than one occupant.

“We are looking at whether we continue to let people in the two-plus carpool be in the lane for free, or do we actually need start charging them because there are so many two-plus carpoolers, so that's something that we'll be talking about and evaluating," Patty Rubstello of WSDOT’s Toll Division told KING 5.

These questions are the focus of a new advisory group made up of 30 local elected officials, including Kirkland Mayor Joan McBride, that held its first meeting Thursday. (Click here to see meeting presentation.) The committee must also determine how to pay for the full implementation of the express lanes and deliver a plan of action to the governor and state legislature by June 2013.

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Related: Are Carpool Lane Violators on I-405 a Problem?

Jason F. January 25, 2013 at 12:59 PM
Lovely....just toll everything. Thank you Washington for mismanaging our road money so you now have to prey on struggling families driving to work.
Ernest Cordova January 25, 2013 at 01:06 PM
This is just another tax that Washington State will enact to procure revenue, because they spent all of the other money and lined thier own pockets. Just like the 90 milliion for railways to only hired one person and no railways to show for the money.
Virginia January 25, 2013 at 07:35 PM
When people were presented with a gas tax increase for the purpose of addressing the traffic challenges, they were not voting for more buses or a rail system. They were voting for road inprovements. Now, we have the same problems, and all anyone wants to do is up taxes, add fees and buy more buses.
Jessica January 25, 2013 at 08:52 PM
I don't think people who have made the effort to find someone to carpool with should be penalized and have to pay because they don't have three people. At least we are doing our part to abide by the law and reduce traffic impact. As it is, commuting on 405 is something people do because they have to for work. What about creating more HOV lanes and instead of making more lanes for single occupant vehicles? How about incentivizing carpooling and not penalizing it?
AS January 26, 2013 at 09:52 PM
I don't get it. They say they have "too many" 2-occupant carpoolers, yet want to let privileged non-carpoolers use the public "HOV" lanes as well??? I think that special roads for the 1%, largely funded by the 99% is absolutely the wrong way to go.

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