CHOKEPOINTS

Sullivan: Friday marks first commute with higher tolls on I-405, SR 167

Mar 1, 2024, 1:56 PM | Updated: Mar 2, 2024, 9:50 am

Happy Increased Toll Day to all those who celebrate.

March 1 marked the first day of the new toll rates on State Route 167 (SR 167) and Interstate 405 (I-405). The minimum rates went up to $1 on both roads. The maximum rates increased to $15.

How did the first commute go with those higher rates?

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The conditions were not as “Friday Lite” as we see on some Fridays, but the toll rates climbed anyway. The rate hit $11.75 on northbound SR 167 out of Auburn and $12.25 on I-405 south out of Lynnwood.

It wasn’t the maximum, but certainly higher than I expected and higher than what they needed to be, based on the actual conditions. With conditions like I saw this morning, on I-405 specifically, the rate would usually only hit about $6 on a Friday morning. I’m a toll nerd. I keep tabs on them, but I don’t have detailed stats. After nearly a decade of watching morning commutes, I have a good instinct for these things.

Tolls did reach $15 on SR 167 during the commute late Friday afternoon, KIRO Newsradio confirmed.

Image: Tolls reached $15 in the HOV lane on Friday, March 2, 2024.

Tolls reached $15 in the HOV lane on Friday, March 2, 2024. (Photo: Charlie Harger, KIRO Newsradio)

It seemed like the new algorithm skewed a little high, but Friday was the first day that the algorithm was in use.

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The Washington State Transportation Commission (WTSC) raised the toll rates to improve travel times and speed in the HOT lanes 167 and the Express Toll Lanes 405. They are not getting the 45 mph travel times, 90% of the time, that is desired.

By raising the prices, the WSTC is hoping to price more people out of those lanes to make them less congested. The old maximum tolls weren’t getting it done.

We’ll see if the higher prices do the trick.

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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Sullivan: Friday marks first commute with higher tolls on I-405, SR 167