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Express Toll Lanes A Possibility on Interstate 405

The topic will be one of many covered at an evening open house in Kirkland Thursday, Feb. 17. Bills that would allow this tolling have been introduced in this state legislative session.

Express toll lanes on Interstate 405 between Bellevue and Lynnwood, which would restrict access to certain lanes of the freeway to solo drivers who have paid an electronic toll and to carpools, could be included in the next phase of freeway construction.

The topic will be among the changes presented in an open house scheduled for Kirkland City Hall tonight.

The state is considering toll lanes like the ones on state Route 167 near Renton and Auburn to help control traffic in the busy corridor, said Denise Cieri, the Washington State Department of Transportation's deputy project director of Interstate 405 and State Route 167.

The role of the toll lanes would be to allow for better traffic flow, by changing the amount charged to encourage or discourage the use of the restricted lane, she said.

Toll rates automatically adjust to ensure traffic in the toll lane is free flowing even when the general-purpose lanes are congested. That means the toll rises when the traffic in the toll lane increases, she said.

Having that lane move more smoothly and having some drivers opt to use the express toll lane helps the traffic overall, even for those who are in the general purpose lanes.

"You'll be able to move more traffic," she said.

The tolls would be paid through the state's Good To Go system -- which is becoming more widely available on the Eastside this week as the . The Good to Go passes will be available at Bellevue Safeway stores and at a customer service center on NE 20th.

Bills have been introduced by request of the Department of Transportation in the state House and Senate to allow for the tolling -- Senate Bill 5490 and House Bill 1382.

Senate Bill 5490 was sponsored by state senators Margarita Prentice (D-Renton), Dan Swecker (R-Rochester), Paull Shin (D-Edmonds), Scott White (D-Seattle) and Tim Sheldon (D-Potlatch).

House Bill 1382 was sponsored by representatives Judy Clibborn (D-Mercer Island), Marcie Maxwell (D-Renton), Marko Liias (D-Mukilteo), Deb Eddy (D-Kirkland), Ross Hunter (D-Medina) and Larry Springer (D-Kirkland).

Other topics to be discussed by state Department of Transportation officials include a new northbound lane between Northeast 124th Street in Kirkland and state Route 522 in Bothell and new braided ramps northbound in the difficult stretch between the 160th on-ramp and the 522 off-ramp.

The Bellevue-to-Lynnwood project is scheduled to begin in early 2012. You can find details at www.wsdot.wa.gov/projects/i405/.

If you go

The meeting is in the Peter Kirk Room at Kirkland City Hall, 123 5th Ave., from 4-7 p.m. on Feb. 17.

-- Information from Kirkland Patch was used in this report.

Clark W. Griswald February 25, 2011 at 05:15 PM
I'll be sleeping at work or in my car somewhere on the side streets and just go home on the weekends before I'll pay any tolls.

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