Inslee's Plan For 405: Shoulder Driving & Free Off-Peak Evening Toll Lane Access
Governor Jay Inslee has a plan to improve traffic on Interstate 405. He says the new toll lanes are helping, but traffic has grown worse between Kirkland and Lynnwood since tolling began. On Tuesday, he laid out his strategy for the corridor.
Patty Rubstello is one of the people in charge of tolls for the state of Washington. She’s been thinking about Interstate 405 a lot. She says officials hope to lift the tolls there on evenings and weekends. And in the future, they hope to try something unusual.
Rubstello: “We’re looking at doing hard shoulder running.”
KUOW: “What’s that mean?”
Rubstello: “It's allowing traffic to drive on the shoulder during peak periods. So when traffic starts to slow down in the general purpose lanes, allow traffic to now use the shoulder as an additional lane.”
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Of course if there’s an accident, and a car pulls onto the shoulder, that lane can’t be used for traffic anymore. And so the governor has invested in new incident response teams. Tow trucks that will help keep the shoulder clear.
Hablewitz: “They should have done this long before they started tolling.”
David Hablewitz leads the group Stop405tolls.org. He says 405 doesn’t need tolls, it needs more lanes.
Hablewitz: “Tolling does nothing to reduce congestion.”
Governor Inslee says it’s not an “either-or” situation. He says we do need tolls, but we also need more lanes, especially in the north parts of 405. But lanes are expensive. It will cost $30-50 million just to open up the shoulder for driving. That would take approval from the state Legislature.