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CONTEST: Let Patch Pay for a Week of Your 520 Bridge Toll

Our contest is now closed. We'll announce a winner shortly.

Local commuters have had nearly a year to get used to the toll on the State Route 520 Bridge.

Last December, the Washington State Department of Transportation instituted a toll on the State Route 520 Bridge to help pay for a $4.65 billion plan to improve SR 520 from Seattle to Redmond.

Improvements include landscaped lids over portions of 520, a wider roadway, increased carpool lanes, a bicycle and pedestrian lane and environmental upgrades. The state legislature decided that $2.37 billion of the amount will be paid through state and federal funding and tolls. Where the rest comes from has yet to be determined. The entire project is slated to be finished by 2014.

So perhaps you've gotten a Good-to-Go account, or looked for toll bills in your mailbox, or just rerouted around the bridge in order avoid the toll, which currently is $3.59 at peak hour -- if you've prepaid via Good-to-Go.

So, at Patch, we've decided to mark the occasion by offering to pay for one reader's toll for a week with a prize of $35.90.

After a year of paying the 520 Bridge toll, or finding another route, tell us why you need us to cover your bridge toll for a week in the comment section of this article.

The winner will be randomly drawn from the comments on this article that are left between Nov. 30, 2012 and 11:59 p.m. Dec. 13, 2012.

Full rules are attached to this article. 

Catherine M November 30, 2012 at 05:48 PM
Well, I am one of those who never opted to use I-90 during the initial weeks that the toll went active. In short, I choose convenience in getting to work rather than a longer I-90 commute. I have therefore been a "loyal customer" and therefore a week of free tolls would be a lovely Christmas gift to me :-). Thanks!
T. E. December 03, 2012 at 04:32 AM
Single mom attending University of Washington in the evenings.
Grant Lairdson December 03, 2012 at 11:48 AM
If you travel with carpool partners, you can split the cost of the toll between you. You can search for carpool partners here: http://us.amovens.com/en
Wendy December 03, 2012 at 03:22 PM
Started a new job in Seattle and even though I do not like paying the toll, I travel from Juanita and it literally takes 45 minutes off of my commute. Have to work it into the budget!
Kirkland Tony December 03, 2012 at 06:51 PM
I live in Kirkland. Over the last few years, in addition to tolling the 520, Seattle has significantly reduced parking, increased parking rates and torn up streets (e.g. Mercer) to the point that I avoid it. It takes too long to get there, and then parking is very expensive if it can be found at all. I now go to Seattle only for occaisonal appointments and for my theatre season shows. And even those I usually take the 90 for... not only is it "free", but avoids crossing I-5 quickly between the 520 merge and the Seattle exits. In contrast, the Eastside has lots of parking, no tolls and equally good theatre (we also go to the Village, and Second Story Rep is great too.) We have discovered great eateries that the Seattle-centric media overlooked, such as Café Juanita, and nice hang-outs (Paddy Coynes, Matt's Oyster Bar.) For every cool hole in Seattle - Pizza Pro in Pioneer Square, or Belltown Billiards - that I miss, there are multiple more convenient options on the Eastside... yes, many of them in Kemper Freeman-land, but that means we get good free covered parking and nice places near each-other rather than sidling past drunkards while walking 10 blocks in the rain to our expensive prowler-prone parking spot. The selection process is -random-, so the reasoning isn't important, but Patch should award that $35 to me because I won't send it right to the hungry beast of government. Instead, I'll toast with it at Joey's Bellevue.
Greg Johnston (Editor) December 03, 2012 at 07:25 PM
We didn't overlook those great Eastside spots Tony! Here's a few posts, and there's more if you look. http://kirkland.patch.com/articles/video-story-award-winning-chef-holly-smith-opens-up-on-dining-and-kirkland http://redmond.patch.com/articles/fork-dork-looking-back-at-some-of-the-best-restaurants-of-2011-36c4abe5 http://redmond.patch.com/articles/redmond-restaurants-gives-charities-a-boost-through-dining-program
Kirkland Tony December 03, 2012 at 08:49 PM
Oh, I didn't mean Patch overlooks them. I mean the Weekly, the Times, etc. The mainstream (and mainstream alternative) rather than the local media. ;)
Michelle Kauffman, Personal Insurance Advisor December 03, 2012 at 09:41 PM
Tolls work well in other areas, but I do not think it was an appropriate fit for 520. A gas tax increase for King County may have been a better solution. I also support Kirkland Tony's reasons to keep our expendable income on the Eastside. Since my toll tab is low as my office relocated last December to Mercer Island after 22 years in Seattle, please give my winning to the single UW mom if this entry gets drawn. She has no choice on how to get to school!
Greg Johnston (Editor) December 03, 2012 at 10:18 PM
I paid the original 520 toll hundreds of times while going to the UW years ago, sometimes in pennies (it was 35 cents). So you get my vote!
Malia Kawaguchi December 04, 2012 at 02:28 AM
Mine too.
Jason F. December 04, 2012 at 12:49 PM
Tony, I couldn't agree with you more. Seattle has become the most unfriendly place in my life. No parking, traffic is a nightmare, rampant crime, no access unless you pay a gregorious toll....no thank you...the Eastside will always be my home and I'm proud to support free parking and good access with my patronage....I'm not taking the bus or light rail (when available) to Seattle...it will never happen...I like my gas-guzzling car thank you very much.
Kirkland Tony December 04, 2012 at 04:37 PM
Supporting Joshua's comment on transit... which is way off topic but is indicative of how bad the DOT (that T is for Transportation, don't forget) is... We had some bus passes. We live in Bridal Trails, can easily walk to the Park & Ride or catch the 245 (e.g.) on 70th. Wanted to catch a movie in Bellevue on Thanksgiving Saturday and figured we'd try the bus, missing traffic and parking issues. Wrong. It is one exit (and one freeway intersection) from 70th to NE 8th. The Bellevue Transit Center is in downtown Bellevue. But you can't get directly from anywhere near the Kirkland P&R to the Bellevue TC. Every route we found involved going to another city and changing buses. 45-90 minutes. So I drove it. We timed it. 7 minutes. Plus 3 for parking, which is less than it would have taken to walk to or from the bus to Lincoln Center. Driving back was 9 minutes (more traffic) but no parking delay... and no walking delay. For the few miles, gas was insignificant, but we spent a total of 19 minutes rather than, estimated, about 2-1/2 hours (150 minutes) in commute. That two hours has value too. I'm not a great fan of the transportation planners in western Washington state.
Bree December 05, 2012 at 06:59 PM
Because we love the restaurants and are visiting schools and family in Seattle. The toll adds up!
Mary Peterson December 11, 2012 at 04:25 PM
The City of Seattle's foolish policies continue to be a benefit to the eastside. With parking, roads and unfriendly business practices being a problem the WSDOT imcompetence on this project is finally putting an end to Seattle’s control of the region. So much business and entertainment is moving to the eastside there just isn’t the need to travel to downtown for everything. My concern with this contest is why the Patch would promote the use of the 520, even for free, when the existing bridge is essentially unsafe in its current condition. My avoidance of the 520 is not just to escape the toll but for the personally safety of all my family and guests in my vehicle.

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