We live right off of I-405 so we have been living with the enormous construction project for years. However, it’s slated to finish this fall and some of the details about the new traffic flow are starting to come out:
- An extra lane is being added between NE 6th and NE 160th St
- That extra lane along with the existing HOV lane will be “express toll lanes.” Cars with enough occupants will travel in them for free, but others can pay to travel in them.
- During peak hours, three people are required to use the express lanes. In off peak hours, two people will qualify.
- The rate for non-HOV users will vary based on the traffic. More traffic? Higher rate. They try to keep traffic flowing on those lanes by pricing people out of them.
- Motorcycles are always exempt as with other HOV lanes.
- You need a new “Flex Pass” to use those lanes. If you already had a switchable pass, you can call for a free upgrade.
- There are defined entry and exit points for the express toll lanes.
I’m interested to see how much the extra lane helps traffic. Having the defined entry and exit points should help keep the traffic segregated a bit. For example, there’s no entry point right at 520 which will hopefully reduce some of the congestion as 520 drivers merge onto 405.
I do wonder about the sensibility of adding an extra HOV lane instead of regular lane. I really hope that it’s being done because this actually reduces commute times for everyone and not as some environmental action to try and force people to carpool.
Thankfully I have multiple routes that I can take to and from work. 405 is just one of the options. With almost 200,000 people traveling this stretch of road every day, I’m sure I’m not the only one who is eager to see how this is going to turn out.