State and local officials met with residents at an open house at Bellevue city hall on April 17 to discuss the proposed expansion of toll lanes along I-405. Aaron Kunkler/Staff Photo

State and local officials met with residents at an open house at Bellevue city hall on April 17 to discuss the proposed expansion of toll lanes along I-405. Aaron Kunkler/Staff Photo

Bellevue hosts open house on toll lane expansion

State and local officials met with residents about proposed expansions of toll lanes on I-405.

A public meeting on a toll lane expansion along Interstate 405 provided more details on the project being undertaken by the Washington State Department of Transportation.

The project would extend toll lanes in both directions between I-90 and their current endpoints around Southeast 8th Street in Bellevue, which stretch north along I-405 to Lynnwood. The expansion is part of an overarching plan to have toll lanes running from Lynnwood in the north, which connect to a toll lane on State Route 167 south to Puyallup. State and local officials met for an open house on April 17 at Bellevue City Hall to explain the expansion to the public.

Widening the highway and re-configuring lanes to create two toll lanes in each direction through Bellevue is expected to cost $1.22 billion with construction beginning in 2019 and stretching through 2024. The DOT would upgrade interchanges and bridges along I-405 to facilitate an anticipated increase in traffic. By 2025, the state expects 255,000 vehicles to use the stretch of interstate daily, an increase of roughly 50,000.

One of the major projects will be building out four miles of trail on the Eastside Rail Corridor in conjunction with King County. The trail does not currently connect across I-405 after the Wilburton Rail tunnel was removed some years ago. When it was removed the state promised to reconnect the trail in the future and a new path, which will be fulfilled with this project. Roughly 2.5 miles of the trail which runs from Renton to Redmond will be paved.

All projects are funded through Connecting Washington and toll lane revenue, which has been generated since paid lanes opened on I-405 in 2015. Nearly 29 million trips on the toll lanes were logged in the first two years of operation and has generated roughly $29 million in revenue, of which $11.5 million has been reinvested. Tolls are in effect from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays, with off-hours and weekends free following push back from the public.

According to state statistics, drivers traveling south from Lynnwood to Bellevue saved 11 minutes and northbound drivers shaved off 13 minutes on average using the toll lanes. Speeds have been improved too, though they still don’t meet the DOT’s own performance guidelines. These stipulate vehicles must be able to drive at a speed of 45 mph or more for at least 90 percent of travel time during rush hours. Before the toll lanes were implemented I-405 was only hitting this goal 56 percent of the time, which has climbed to 85 percent following the lanes coming on line.

The DOT maintains that the management of stormwater runoff would be improved with the expansion since additional piping and inlets would be created to catch more water. Additionally, stormwater processing plants would be upgraded.

The project would add 2.7 new acres of pavement to the existing 104.4 acres in the project area, but the state says the water retention technology would result in lower contamination levels. Less than one acre of wetland would be destroyed along with two acres of vegetation, which would be mitigated elsewhere in Bellevue.

A public comment period is open until May 2 and state residents can weigh in by email at i405comments@wsdot.wa.gov.

More in News

The city of Bothell has purchased the final five acres of the “Back 9” on the former Wayne Golf Course. Reporter file photo
Bothell buys last five acres of ‘Back 9’ on former Wayne Golf Course

Forterra purchased the property in early 2016 to give the city of Bothell time to arrange financing.

Mary Lynn Pannen, founder and CEO of Sound Options, has consulted thousands of Washington families on geriatric care for 30 years. Photo courtesy of Sound Options.
Elder abuse cases are on the rise in Washington

Local agencies and geriatric care managers aim to increase public awareness about the epidemic.

Bothell City Hall. Katie Metzger/staff photo
Bothell council unanimously passes city budget

City faces financial challenges in meeting demand for, and cost of, services with current revenues.

New hotel breaks ground in Kenmore’s Saint Edward Park

The old seminary building in the park will be preserved and turned into a lodge, opening in 2020.

Northshore School District hosts holiday concerts

All events are open to the public and are held at the school unless otherwise noted.

Snohomish County approves 2019 budget

Public safety, affordable housing, economic development, and fiscal accountability are top priorities.

Suspect steals 85-year-old’s cell phone | Police blotter

The Bothell police blotter for Nov. 26 through 28.

The 2019-20 county budget of $11.7 billion dollars passed by the King County Council. The King County budget priorities are affordable housing and homelessness, public safety, local services, expanding transit access and options, environment, parks and recreation, and equity an health. Graphic courtesy of King County
King County council passes 2019-20 budget

Budget priorities include affordable housing and homelessness, public safety and expanding transit access and options.

The Centralia Power Plant is a coal-burning plant owned by TransAlta which supplies 380 megawatts to Puget Sound Energy. It is located in Lewis County and slated to shut down by 2025. Aaron Kunkler/Staff Photo
National report outlines climate change’s course for the Northwest

More fires, floods and drought appear to be on their way for Washington state.

Most Read