WSDOT expects 1,700 vehicles per hour to divert due to 99 tunnel tolling
When tolling starts on the SR99 tunnel next month, the city now has a better idea of how much extra traffic will be on Seattle streets to avoid paying.
The state expects 1,700 vehicles an hour during the peak commutes to go somewhere else. That’s about a 26 percent diversion during rush hour. Seattle’s Director of Mobility Heather Marx says the city is ready.
“We expect there will be more vehicles traveling through downtown,” Marx said. “We’re all eagerly awaiting and we’re prepared for the worst case scenario, and more diversion. But we also are hopeful that it won’t quite be that bad.”
The state expects it will take two or three years worth of tolling before we will know just how the tunnel is impacting our roads. Tolling was pushed back to the fall by transportation officials in June, as the new toll vendor struggled to build a billing system.
About 5,000 cars an hour use the tunnel today during rush hours. Tolling Director Ed Barry says that’s a conservative estimate.
“This is what we might see forecasted to occur when tolling begins, but again it’s just a forecast–they’re typically pretty conservative,” he said.
Tolling begins November 9. The toll prices will be as follows:
- 6 – 7 a.m. – $1.25
- 7 – 9 a.m. – $1.50
- 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. – $1.25
- 3 – 6 p.m. – $2.25
- 6 – 11 p.m. – $1.25
- 11 p.m. – 6 a.m. – $1