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Second phase of I-405 construction is just beginning in Renton

We marked the one year anniversary of I-405 tolling this week. Today, the Washington State Department of Transportation is breaking ground on the second phase of the project that will add express toll lanes between Bellevue and Renton.

Work is now underway to redesign the I-405/167 interchange in Renton. WSDOT is building a fly-over ramp between the freeways that will connect the HOT lanes on 167 directly to the HOV lanes on I-405. Those I-405 HOV lanes will eventually become express toll lanes.

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“Today on 167 we have a HOT lane that just ends at 405 so this new fly-over ramp will provide a seamless connection for that lane that’s ending,” corridor project manager Kim Henry said.

This ramp should eliminate most of the congestion between the two freeways, especially the weaving we see as HOV/HOT lane drivers move to their exits.

“You’ll just be able to stay in the lanes and move from one freeway to the other freeway,” Henry said.

This is just the beginning of the second phase to add express toll lanes to I-405. The work will clear the way for adding another lane in both directions between Bellevue and Tukwila. It will not be a general purpose lane. It will be added to the existing HOV lane to create a two-lane express toll system, just like the year-old lanes between Bellevue and Lynnwood.

Henry said the 167/I-405 flyover ramp will be nearly complete when widening begins between Bellevue and Tukwila. Drivers have about a decade-worth of construction to deal with. The current schedule calls for the 167 interchange to be complete in about three years, with the widening project to begin in 2019. Adding the new lane to I-405 between Bellevue and Tukwila should take four of five years.

Future projects on the I-405 corridor include the eventual redesign and construction of a new 522 interchange in Bothell and the addition of a second express toll lane between Bothell and Lynnwood.

There are plans to add direct HOV/express toll lane ramps between I-405 and I-90. These would allow access between northbound I-405 to eastbound I-90 and westbound I-90 to southbound I-405.

The state also wants to provide direct access from I-405 express lanes to the 520 HOV lane.

These projects will likely start after the widening is finished.

Send Chris a traffic tip at @KIROTraffic on Twitter or email him.

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