CHOKEPOINTS

Tolls increase on multiple highways, WSDOT repairing I-90’s expansion joint

Feb 27, 2024, 5:43 AM | Updated: 6:17 am

toll increase...

(Photo courtesy of WSDOT)

(Photo courtesy of WSDOT)

It’s a Tuesday grab bag. Big changes are coming to I-90 near Mercer Island and Bellevue, and the toll rates go up this week on I-405 and SR 167.

Let’s start with the toll increases.

Toll increases on I-405, SR-167

Friday is the day the minimums and maximums go up on I-405 and I-167. The minimum toll on both corridors will go up to $1. The maximum rate will go up to $15. The peak period for the HOV requirements will be expanded to 8 p.m. One more hour.

More from Chokepoints: I-90 in Bellevue to close at night this week for road work

For those who are not familiar with the tolling corridors on 405 and 167, they are a congestion-pricing model. The toll allows solo drivers and cars under the HOV requirement to pay their way into the lanes. The toll rate goes up as congestion gets worse so people will choose to not pay their way in.

It’s about pricing people out of those faster lanes. It turns out the max’s were not doing the job in pricing people out. That’s why they are being increased to $15.

Sometime in 2025, the entire toll system from Lynnwood to Puyallup will go active, where you will be able to pay your way into express lanes the whole way. The toll rates will also be segmented at that time, meaning you will be charged multiple times on that trip. Today, you only pay the price you see on the boards.

In 2025, there will be one toll segment from Puyallup to Renton, a second from Renton to Bellevue and a third from Bellevue to Lynnwood. You will be charged a new toll in each segment. A maximum of $45 for that whole trip, though it’s unlikely all segments will be at the max at the same time.

Eastbound I-90 over Mercer Island

Drivers have been dealing with the right lane closure for a month now approaching the East Channel Bridge. A failing expansion joint has forced the state to close that lane. The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) plans to restripe the lanes next weekend, March 8-10.

If the weather allows, workers will return eastbound I-90 to four lanes that weekend, which should help with the daily 15-to-20-minute delays we have been seeing. The lanes will only be 10 feet wide.

More from Chris Sullivan: Inside SR 520’s safety system in Montlake

The expansion joint should be repaired next year.

And one more from I-90. The westbound HOV lane should have been closed overnight near Bellevue College (weather might have postponed the project).

This is for the massive fish culvert project at Sunset Creek. The eastbound HOV lane has been blocked for a year for construction. It will remain closed until May 2025. The westbound lane will remain closed for about two years.

The state is building four new bridges over Sunset Creek during this multi-year fish passage project.

Check out more of Chris’ Chokepoints here. You can also follow Chris on X, formerly known as TwitterHead here to follow KIRO Newsradio Traffic’s profile on X.

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