CHOKEPOINTS

The program WSDOT hopes will speed up I-405

Nov 15, 2016, 5:39 AM | Updated: 9:12 am
shoulder driving...
The express toll lanes on I-405 have aimed to speed things up for drivers, but WSDOT hopes that a new shoulder driving program will improve drive times even more. (WSDOT)
(WSDOT)

The state has promised hard-shoulder driving on a stretch of I-405 to ease the daily congestion created by the express toll lanes. It is now one step closer to implementing that.

The Washington State Department of Transportation awarded the contract for the project. Graham Contracting of Bellevue will be doing the work, and the initial phases could begin before the end of the year.

When will WSDOT take care of the Highway 18 chokepoint?

This project will allow drivers to use the right shoulder in the northbound direction as a general purpose lane during very specific times — primarily between 3-7 p.m. on weekdays.

The shoulder driving will begin north of the SR 527 on-ramp in Canyon Park and extend nearly two miles up to I-5 in Lynnwood.

Why shoulder driving?

Project manager Kim Henry argues that the shoulder driving will make a big difference for commuters.

“We really think that’s going to help this whole traffic area, and help traffic move through a lot better,” Henry said. “And once that does, it will take pressure off of this whole northbound direction and improve travel times for everybody.”

A lot of people have asked why the shoulder driving couldn’t be extended farther south, closer to where the daily chokepoint starts at Highway 522. That’s where we go from five lanes to three lanes. But you can’t do it, based on the current design of the freeway. There are several on and off-ramps between Highways 522 and 527 that make shoulder driving there impossible.

So how will this shoulder driving work? There will be a sign above the shoulder that will tell you when you can, or can’t use it.

What if there’s an accident or a stall, and the shoulder needs to be used for that?

“If for some reason that shoulder is needed for refuge, they will immediately close the shoulder,” Henry said. “And it will remain closed until whatever is on the shoulder is removed and people can safely use the shoulder again.”

Vehicles over 10,000 gross weight will not be allowed to use the shoulder. That limitation doesn’t include buses, however.

The shoulder driving program should be up and running before next summer. This will be the first improvement project on I-405 funded by toll revenue collected from the express toll lanes.

Tolls generated $17.5 million during the first year of operations. When you add in Good-to-Go pass purchases and other fees, such as those for not paying tolls, the gross revenue was over $21 million. Operating costs were $8 million. This means the toll lanes made nearly $14 million in the first year. That money has to go right back into improving I-405.

I-405_ETL_UseOfFunds_PieChart._510x352px

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

Chokepoints

Coffee Travel...
Chris Sullivan

Free coffee returns to a rest area near you this weekend

The free coffee is back. After a two-year pandemic break, you can finally get a free cup at your favorite rest area.
1 day ago
Trash is strewn along an Interstate 5 freeway on-ramp as viewed in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by G...
Chris Sullivan

Sullivan: A glance at current Washington state laws to avoid littering on the road

Littering is still a huge problem on our roads, but are you still required to carry a trash bag in your car?
10 days ago
Expansion joints underneath I-5 (KIRO Newsradio)...
Chris Sullivan

I-5 expansion joint repair will hamper your summer driving

If the weather holds, southbound I-5 will be shut-down this weekend through Seattle for the first of a summer’s worth of weekend closures for expansion joint repairs.
15 days ago
(Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)...
Chris Sullivan

ORCA card gets a reboot with instant value transfer feature

The new site and app will allow more than five million users to add money to their accounts instantly alongside 6,000 new card readers and vending machines.
18 days ago
fare...
Chris Sullivan

Sullivan: Sound Transit passes fare reform with diminished ridership accountability checks

Sound Transit no longer has mechanisms in place to check I-D's and track who isn't paying in the first place with their decision to remove law enforcement from the fare enforcement process.
21 days ago
Expansion joints I-5, bumps...
Chris Sullivan

Work to remove bumps along I-5 through downtown Seattle set to bring months of weekend closures

Workers are about kick off work to remove those bumps on I-5 through Seattle, but it's going to come with a heavy price for drivers.
29 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
...

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]
...

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
...

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
...
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
The program WSDOT hopes will speed up I-405