Thursday, September 17, 2015

Seeing Double: Restriping begins between Bothell and Lynnwood on I-405

By Caitlin Morris

What do 850 football fields, 1,500 Boeing 747 wingspans and the height of 21 Mt. Rainiers have in common? They all stretch 300,000 feet. That’s also how much new striping our crews will install on Interstate 405 between Bellevue and Lynnwood in preparation for express toll lanes opening Sept. 27. Starting as early as late Friday, Sept. 18, between Interstate 5 in Lynnwood and NE 160th Street, drivers will begin to see double white lines on I-405. Restricted HOV access begins Saturday.

The new stripes will mean changes to how you use the I-405 HOV lane.

You don’t need an optometrist, you’re just seeing double! 
Today, carpoolers have continuous access to the HOV lane, which means they can enter and exit at any point. The new double white lines between Bellevue and Lynnwood will create a buffer between the express toll lanes on the far left side of the road and the regular lanes. Once the double white lines are installed, you can only enter and exit the HOV lane at designated access points marked by a dashed white line.

Enforcement begins once the double lines are installed
While tolling doesn’t start until Sept. 27, Washington State Patrol will begin enforcing the double white line policy as soon as the new lines are installed. Failure to use designated access points may result in a $136 ticket for crossing the double white lines.

What does this mean for me?
Let’s say you travel southbound on I-405, between Lynnwood to Woodinville. You will only have two chances to exit the express toll lanes prior to the SR 522 interchange and will need to leave the express toll lanes sooner than you previously had to merge out of the HOV lanes.

You can plug in your own trip into our express toll lanes interactive map to see what your new commute on I-405 will look like. You can also check out our animated video to get a virtual feel for a potential trip in the express toll lanes.

We realize this will be a big change for carpoolers traveling between Bothell and Lynnwood, and we encourage drivers to try to familiarize themselves with the new access points ahead of time, but we know there will still be a learning curve.

Construction FYI
Painting the stripes is weather dependent because the roadway needs to be dry for the paint to adhere to the road. Because of that, we suggest getting the most up-to-date construction information on the I-405 Construction Updates page.

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just an FYI: in the paragraph (We realize this will be a big change for carpoolers traveling between Bothell and Lynnwood, and we encourage drivers to try to familiarize themselves with the new access appoints ahead of time, but we know there will still be a learning curve.)it should be "points" instead of "appoints". Just wanted to let you know incase you want to correct it.

Anonymous said...

Ha, I'm just wondering if you could make driving on 405 MORE complicated. This is so absurd, you are going to make traffic WORSE because of the confusion. Be prepared for more accidents because people trying to get off at Woodinville and Bothell have to be in the far right lane starting at the exit for Kirkland!! And do you think for a second you are helping the traffic flow? You are punishing single drivers...and now you are punishing people with TWO people in the car! Shame on you for making people pay to drive in the far left two lanes. Not just the HOV lane, but also the fast lane?

Anonymous said...

So........ there will be NO 2+, HOV lanes accessable with out a pass/toll?????

WSDOT said...

Thank you for catching that. We’ll make the correction!

Anonymous said...

will the 520 good to go pass work for regular driving on 405?

Maltbyman said...

You will need a FlexPass to carpool with 3+ (not two) people in your vehicle with your FlexPass set to HOV and you can drive there toll-free. If you do not have 3 people, you must set your FlexPass to toll.

http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/GoodToGo/PassSelectionHelp/FlexPass.htm

A regular Good to Go pass will also charge your account the proper toll if you don't have the FlexPass, but without the FlexPass, I don't think you can carpool

I think if you don't have either of those you will get the bill for your toll in the mail.


Maltbyman said...

I'm not with WADOT, but they do have a website that explains this.

http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Tolling/405/

To the last two comments - when tolling is enforced, you will need a FlexPass set to HOV with THREE or more people in the vehicle, not two.

The Good to Go pass isn't necessary for "regular driving." Do you mean not in the HOV lanes? If you mean in the HOV lanes, a Good to Go pass will work for paying tolls but if you are carpooling with 3 or more, then you will need the FlexPass.

WSDOT said...

Drivers who do not plan on carpooling on I-405 can continue to use their current Good To Go! passes to pay tolls at the lowest rate. If you carpool on I-405, you’ll need to get a Flex Pass in order to drive for free when you have enough people in your car. Find out more and see if you qualify for a free Flex Pass.

WSDOT said...

Thanks Maltbyman for helping to explain all these changes for other readers.

One quick clarification: The carpool requirement will change with the time of day. Three people are only needed during weekday peak hours (5 am – 9 am and 3 pm – 7 pm). At all other times, two-person carpools can drive for free with a Flex Pass.

Non-carpoolers always have the choice to enter the express toll lanes by paying a toll.

CheesyBeef said...

Will there still be free usage for any amount of passengers between 7PM or 5AM or, as always, all good things must go away?

WSDOT said...

Actually, the carpool occupancy requirement will only change to 3+ during the most congested weekday hours. Between 5am and 9am in the morning and 3pm and 7pm in the afternoon on weekdays, the carpool requirement will be three or more people once the I-405 express toll lanes open September 27. At all other times, including midday hours, nights and weekends, the occupancy requirement to qualify as a carpool will be two or more people. A Flex Pass set to HOV mode that is tied to a Good To Go! account will always be required in your vehicle to travel toll-free as a carpool.

WSDOT said...

WSDOT is working to fix the worst traffic problems and create an efficient, reliable transportation system. Drivers on I-405 experience some of the worst traffic in the state—up to eight hours each day. The existing HOV lanes are often as congested as the regular lanes and fail to reduce traffic congestion.

The solution: adding an additional lane to the existing HOV lane and making both lanes express toll lanes. The number of regular lanes will remain the same as they are today. WSDOT will adjust toll rates in the express toll lanes based on real-time traffic conditions to encourage the maximum numbers of drivers to use the toll lanes while keeping traffic moving at 45 mph or faster. This will take the guesswork and frustration out of the daily commute and help drivers, transit users, motorcyclists, and vanpools get where they are going quicker.

WSDOT said...

Hello Maltbyman-

Thanks for your comment. I just wanted to clarify a few points regarding questions that you had. The carpool occupancy requirement will only change to 3+ during the most congested weekday hours. Between 5am and 9am in the morning and 3pm and 7pm in the afternoon on weekdays, the carpool requirement will be three or more people. At all other times, including midday hours, nights and weekends, the occupancy requirement to qualify as a carpool will be two or more people. A Flex Pass set to HOV mode that is tied to a Good To Go! account will always be required in your vehicle to travel toll-free as a carpool.

You are correct, any Good To Go! pass other than a Flex Pass will allow you to pay the lowest toll possible when using the lanes in your car. The Flex Pass is the only one that allows you to carpool toll-free. If you don’t have a Good To Go! pass in your vehicle, you can link your license plate to your account to pay a toll. If you do not have a Good To Go! account, you will receive a bill in the mail.

Anonymous said...

If I am not mistaken, our tax money already pays for these roads. That being said this is CLEARLY NOT for safety. This will create MORE side swipes/accidents, and what happens when 'regular' traffic lanes have major accidents in them which block 2+ lanes or more? Surely changing lanes to avoid collision, and traffic flow will create a lot of new REVENUE? Thanks for the continued restriction on the right to travel our roads without restriction, can't wait for the future grid-lock. Good Job WSDOT!

Anonymous said...

Our roads were already near or even overcapacity by the time this map shows a figure for 1980. (http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/planning/wtp/datalibrary/population/PopGrowthCounty.htm)

Since then, just through 2012, this is not even up-to-date, King County's population increased 51.7%, from 1.29 to 1.96 million, and Snohomish county has had a 114.1% increase in population from 337,720 to 722,900 according to this data. Since local employers recruit people and move them here from all over the country, and even overseas, how can the existing population be expected to fund all the expansion projects needed to provide for all these new people? Some will buy houses and pay local sales taxes & license fees, but clearly, the new taxpayers can't provide enough new tax dollars to pay for all the new lanes needed for population growth.

I remember sales tax being UNDER 5% (just an example, does not go to these projects,) but it's never enough for politicians to get the same PERCENTAGE of an ever INCREASING tax base--They're so greedy for your money (to fund all the promises they made to get elected,) they inevitably keep raising the RATES too. All, while UNelected government officials pass all sorts of new rules and regulations making EVERY type of construction and road improvements more and more expensive, over and above the rate of inflation, (also caused by politicians, EG Richard Millhouse NIXON, and more unelected regulators at The FED,) which the citizenry have vitually NO control over, all in a supposed Republic, supposedly with strict limitaions and regulations on the regulators, but with virtually no limits in reality on what they can and cannot decide to do without our permission.

Hence, we get toll lanes. We were fine with the lanes we had, but people keep moving here without any way to levy the costs mostly on the new people causing the new needs. So taxes keep going up for everyone, just because we live in an area that draws people.

Have ANY of our highways between 1980 and 2012 had anything even remotely resembling an increase in free-to-all lane-capacity commensurate with poplulation growth shown of between 50 & 114%? OF COURSE NOT! Many politicians and regulators don't want you to have the freedom to drive: leave when you want, stop anywhere you want on the way to or from work or wherever you're going, etc. Government wants to control every aspect of your life that they can. They'd be thrilled if they could shoehorn everyone into buses and mass-transit they control -- all the time. All in name of "helping" you. GET USED TO IT, because I don't see enough intelligent voters to override the votes of the short-sighted and the just plain ignorant!! And most everything that affects your daily life is done outside direct voter control!

I'm sure this post will be deleted soon, but at least I got a chance to write it.

Cheers, JB

Anonymous said...

Please provide some clarity...beginning 9/27 will single occupant vehicles be able to access I 405 using the direct access ramps at NE 6th and NE 128th if willing to pay the hot lanes toll? I have heard conflicting answers from WSDOT on this topic

Anonymous said...

Can single occupant vehicles use the direct access ramps at NE 6th and NE 128th on I 405 beginning 9/27if they are willing to pay the toll? I've heard conflicting answers from WSDOT on this question

Anonymous said...

Great. Just jam all of us over into the 2 right lanes on 405 and make it a 3 hour trip from Renton to Lynnwood. 405 is terrible as it is...and now it even gets worse. Thanks. This whole plan is stupid and will not work....it will cause even more congestion and longer delays on a highway which is at 110% capacity most of the time already.

Anonymous said...

I moved out of WA state because of the stupidity and expence of living there.
Now it looks both of those reasons are reaching new levels.....and I am sure more will follow!

Anonymous said...

You keep saying you are keeping the same number of regular lanes. I just don't see it. I see the extra lane that moves in and out of on ramps and exist ramps. That is not truly an extra lane. Plus as we all know, merging in and out actually slows things down. I have to say I find this exceedingly frustrating. Plus goodbye 2 person carpool that I've worked to create.

WSDOT said...

Thank you for your question and we’re happy to provide clarity. Yes, beginning September 27, single-occupant vehicles will be able to access the I-405 express toll lanes using the direct access ramps at NE 6th St and at NE 128th St and will pay the toll. To pay the lowest toll, you will want a Good To Go! account and pass in your vehicle. The Good To Go! Flex Pass is the best option for those that plan to carpool.

Anonymous said...

Why do the new I-405 HOT lanes include the double, illegal to cross, lane marker lines? These were tried on the SR-167 HOT lane trial and were later ground off to a single line, because they were unworkable and unpopular. Why not apply the lessons learned from the test to this larger project?

Anonymous said...

I just drove north on 405 to the I5 interchange with the new striping. I was quite unhappy with the short space allowed from the end of the double-striping to the exit to I5 Northbound. 2 pm traffic was moderate at the time, but I felt very rushed to jump through that traffic over multiple lanes to get into the exit lane. I felt that my risk level was much higher than usual. Ending the striping a quarter mile or more sooner would have allowed a smoother transition to the exit. In heavier traffic I think that transition will be nearly impossible. If you are not going to allow more room then it would be wise to add signs advising toll lane users to exit the lane at the prior toll lane exit point in order to use the I5N exit.

Anonymous said...

Are both express toll lanes open to any vehicle with a single driver only? I"ve heard a rumor that one carpool lane is for carpools only in the express lanes. And the other express lane can be used by a single driver.

WSDOT said...

Great question – we get this one a lot. You are correct, WSDOT is adding one continuous new lane in both directions between NE 6th Street in Bellevue and SR 522 in Bothell. The auxiliary lanes you see on I-405 today will be converted to one, continuous lane when the new I-405 express toll lanes open on Sept. 27. When the express toll lanes launch there will be two express toll lanes and three general purpose lanes between NE 6th Street in Bellevue and SR 522 in Bothell.

Another question we get a lot is about the new 2+/3+ carpool requirement to ride toll free on I-405. During the busiest commute times (5-9am and 3-7pm, weekdays), drivers will need 3 or more people in the car to ride for free. But at all other times, including the weekends, only 2 people are needed to ride toll free as a carpool.

WSDOT said...

WSDOT is testing this new access on the SR 167 HOT lanes pilot project first. This is not a common method of access for HOT lanes or express toll lanes, but thanks to a federal grant and this ideal pilot location, we can see how well this access option works and determine if we want to use it at other places in the future. WSDOT is partnering with the University of Washington on a formal evaluation of SR 167 and the results will not be complete by the time express toll lanes go live on I-405.

I-405 express toll lanes will also be different from the SR 167 HOT lanes in that I-405 will have two express toll lanes in each direction in certain segments. SR 167 only has one HOT lane in each direction.

WSDOT said...

Thank you for your question. Yes, the I-405 express toll lanes are open to single-occupant vehicles and they will pay a toll to use the lanes. In the dual express toll lane section between Bellevue and Bothell, both lanes will operate the same way, allowing access to single-occupant drivers by paying a toll.

WSDOT said...

Thank you for sharing your experience about the new striping. We will pass it along to our project team. Our project engineers used traffic data and analysis to design safe and efficient access points for the new I-405 express toll lanes. As with any big changes to the roadway, it will take time for drivers to get used to the new system and adjust. However, we are actively monitoring the new striping to observe how drivers use the new system and is prepared to make adjustments quickly if it becomes apparent that they are needed.

WSDOT said...

Safety is WSDOT’s number one priority. In fact, the express toll lanes (ETLs) will reduce congestion-related collisions. ETLs will reduce congestion by giving drivers a choice to pay a toll for a reliable trip when they need it. The new lanes will also bring back predictability for carpoolers and transit who use the lanes toll-free. When ETLs were introduced in Miami, average speeds in the HOV lane more than tripled during peak afternoon periods. At the same time, average speeds in the general purpose lanes more than doubled. The result of the I-405 ETL system will be a corridor that moves more vehicles and people more efficiently. The reduction of congestion-related collisions is a resulting benefit.

To address your concerns about tolling during traffic incidents, if a collision or incident were ever to block the right lanes, drivers would be diverted toll-free through the express toll lanes to get safely around the incident without cost.

Anonymous said...

Can I drive in the new toll lanes with one person, if I have a good to go pass and am willing to pay the toll? Likewise could I then use the Express Exit as well?

WSDOT said...

Yes to both questions! Find out everything you need to know about how to use the lanes on our website.

Jay Johnson said...

Are there times that a car with 2 people may use the two toll lanes without charge to the Good to Go Pass? Or, do we need to apply for another type to ride free during certain hours? It sounds like the lanes may have different names, or are they both ETLs?

Anonymous said...

Can I use pay-by-plate to pay tolls for using the ETLs?

WSDOT said...

Hi Jay-
Thanks for your questions. To travel toll-free as a carpool in the I-405 express toll lanes, you will need a Flex Pass set to HOV mode that is tied to a Good To Go! account, as well as the required number of people in your vehicle. If you use the express toll lanes without the Flex Pass, you will be charged a toll, regardless of the number of people in your vehicle. A two-person carpool can travel toll-free outside of peak hours (peak hours are 5-9am and 3-7pm, weekdays) with the Flex Pass set to HOV mode that is tied to a Good To Go! account. Both of the new lanes on I-405 between Bellevue and Bothell are express toll lanes and there is a single express toll lanes between Bothell and Lynnwood.

WSDOT said...

Yes, you can use your Pay By Plate account to pay tolls on the new I-405 express toll lanes.

Anonymous said...

What about people that carpool but drive cars with only 2 seats?! Punish them?? There should be NO double lines and only ONE hov lane. All that needed to happen was to add a lane for non carpoolers. Not take one away!!

Anonymous said...

I kind feel bad for the people who are responding to all of us angry commuters. Do the idiots that designed this "new system" drive this road every morning and evening, or were they just bored and thought they'd mess with us?

Kelly Abbott said...

I notice that WSDOT made 2 hov lanes after 124th in Totem lake and took away 1 commuter lane. This is causing mass traffic back up on the entire length of south bound 405 and increasing the commute by 30 minutes for everyone in the NON toll lanes. Cars entering at 124th, and the next entrance up, no longer have that extra lane to travel in to find a chance to safely merge in. Now the lane just ends and they have to merge right on to the freeway STOPPING the entire south bound 405 in the process. That lane was put in for safety and making the freeway not have to stop for people entering. WSDOT took it away so they could make another toll lane and created a big freeway clog with it and an opportunity for way more accidents. I've seen more accidents on that stretch this week than any other time of driving it in my life. WSDOT you created this. Is this going to be fixed because all these accidents you've created are going to start having people dying?
Hey everyone, what did you think of all those dented up pulled over cars on 405 every morning this week. I've been driving this for years and did't witness anything like this before. WSDOT, are you going to FIX this?

G Parappuram said...

When do the trips and charges appear in the account? I traveled 2 days and so far no charges on my account. I put the Flex Pass to Toll Mode. I hope the scans works well and I will not get one by mail.

G Parappuram said...

When I commute from Bellevue to Lynnwood, and exit at Bothell to drop a co-passenger and re-enter next exit, how many tolls are charged?

WSDOT said...

Hello G Parappuram:
It will take about 4 days for your I-405 express toll lane transactions to show up on your Good To Go! account. Since there are multiple entry/exit locations and toll points along the corridor, it takes more time to develop toll trips and ensure accuracy for each before posting them to your account. Toll facilities like SR 520 only have one toll point, so the trip is created more quickly in the system and therefore posted to the account faster. Thanks for your question!

WSDOT said...

Hello G Parappuram:
Thanks for your question. If you exit the express toll lanes to drop off a passenger, you will most likely get two tolls, depending on how quickly you re-enter the express toll lanes.

mark Salser said...

Are there any restrictions on using the I-405 toll lanes related to size/weight of the vehicle or whether or not it is towing a trailer? We would have a GoodToGo pass in the vehicle in question. The reason I ask is that the diamond lane had some restrictions that prevented us from using it with our truck when towing a horse trailer even if we had enough occupants to qualify as a carpool.