By guest blogger Steve Peer
For months, Renton resident Tami Green watched construction on I-405 in her Renton neighborhood. When she learned that WSDOT was building a new on-ramp to northbound I-405 from Talbot Road, she realized her daily commute from Renton to Bellevue would be vastly improved because she wouldn’t have to go through downtown Renton to get on the freeway further north. She figured it would reduce her commute by 5-10 minutes each way. As the ramp began to materialize, she made an unusual wager with her boyfriend. She bet she would be the first to drive on the ramp.
So Green called someone with the City of Renton who immediately contacted us. We loved her idea of having a citizen open up a road so Tami became our honored guest. After all, we make improvements for real people, like Green, so it was a perfect fit.
On December 21 crews opened the new I-405 interchange and lanes to traffic in Renton as part of the Renton Stage 2 project. Tami Green was on hand to be the first to use the northbound on-ramp. She waved to construction workers, officials from the City of Renton and WSDOT as she was escorted by Renton Police vehicles onto I-405. The motorcycle police peeled off just before entering I-405.
And Tami Green was the first to drive onto I-405 from the new on-ramp.
The new $83.7 million project adds a new southbound off-ramp to Talbot Road (exit #3) and a new on-ramp to northbound I-405 plus additional lanes in each direction of I-405 between SR 167 and SR 169 and helps to relieve congestion. Crews worked day and night to finish project nine months ahead of schedule – welcome news for many who have been watching construction progress in Renton.
December 21 was a good day for Tami…and it was good day for many other drivers. Since opening the project to traffic, we’ve received quite a few notes from drivers and residents in Renton who tell us the new interchange has shaved time off their commute. Tami told us the new ramps have reduced her commute by eight minutes. Have you tried the new intersection? We want to hear from you about your experience – please leave a comment below.