By Jennifer Rash
Since we opened the I-405 express toll lanes last September, we've heard from a lot of drivers that they'd like to check the toll rates online before heading out.
We're happy to report that drivers can now check I-405 express toll lane traffic conditions and get near real-time toll rates online using the new map tool.
You can begin using the map by clicking the express toll lane button on the Seattle traffic map page.
What are you seeing?
You'll notice the map displays green, yellow and red colors to reflect traffic volumes along the corridor. Those volumes, as well as speeds, in both the express toll lanes and the general purpose lanes determine the current toll rate. New toll rates are calculated every five minutes, so this means even if you check rates just before heading out the door, toll rates may be different by the time you get onto I-405.
What you need to know about this map
Toll rates displayed on the map will be approximately five minutes behind the rates displayed on the road. Why? Between processing, publishing, and serving the map to users on the website, the whole process takes a couple of minutes - and it can take up to 5 minutes.
So, this means if you're traveling on I-405 and a passenger in your vehicle is looking at the toll rate map on his or her phone – the toll rate on the sign may be different than what is displayed on the map.
The bottom line: Customers will be charged the toll rate they see on the roadway sign when enter the express toll lanes. The roadway signs will show the correct toll rate.
Am I going to pay a toll each time I drive past a rate sign?
The answer to this one is no. This question just keeps on coming back – you always pay the price you see when you enter and you will only be charged one rate per trip. The signs may show different rates for different destinations, but you never need to add these rates together. If the rates go up while you are driving, you'll still pay the original rate you saw when entering the express toll lane. The rates displayed on the roadway signs are for any point up to and including the listed destination. In other words, once you pass a listed destination you pay the rate for the next destination you saw on the sign when you entered.