By Craig Smiley
Heads up, northbound Interstate 405 travelers: In Snohomish County, work has begun on a new peak-use shoulder lane in the congested 1.8-mile stretch between State Route 527 and I-5 in Lynnwood. Construction is starting ahead of our original schedule, and the lane is on track to open to traffic this spring.
|Overhead signs will tell drivers when the shoulder is open to traffic.|
What’s a peak-use shoulder lane?
As the name suggests, drivers and buses will soon be able to use the northbound right shoulder as an additional general-purpose lane during times with the heaviest congestion—in this case, the weekday afternoon commute.
How will lane construction affect my commute?
At first, crews will close only shoulders to complete their work. As the project progresses throughout the next few months, there will also be some nighttime lane closures. Be sure to keep an eye on the I-405 construction closures website to get detailed information about closures as they approach.
|The peak-use shoulder lane will run|
from SR 527 to I-5.
Once this project is complete, new overhead signs will alert drivers when the lane is open with a green arrow and closed with a red “X”, similar to the signs you see today on I-5 near Seattle.
What if there’s an incident?
As with all highway operations, our traffic management center will be actively monitoring the lane. If there is a collision or incident, we will be able to close the lane in order to allow emergency services to respond. There will also be four emergency pullouts in the area of the peak-use shoulder lane.
What’s special about this project?
This is the first dynamically controlled peak-use shoulder lane in the state, as well as the first example of I-405 express toll lane revenue being reinvested in the corridor.
We recognize that introducing a peak-use shoulder lane between SR 527 and I-5 is one step toward improving congestion in this area. That’s why we’re also looking at more comprehensive, longer-term improvements such as adding new lanes in each direction and rebuilding key interchanges. For now, we’re looking forward to providing new capacity for north end drivers —and on an accelerated schedule.
Stay tuned for a comprehensive look at how to use the peak-use shoulder lane and how we will work with our emergency service partners to operate the lane in the coming months.