Local and state officials gathered at the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) Northwest Region Traffic Management Center in Shoreline on April 24 to open the Interstate 405 northbound peak-use shoulder lane to afternoon commuters.
Gov. Jay Inslee clicked the button to turn the overhead signal in Bothell from a red X to green arrow at 2 p.m., and cars soon started flowing through the shoulder lane.
“Today, we’re opening up a new lane on 405,” Inslee said. “We think this is the fastest way to bring relief.”
Inslee emphasized that the shoulder project was a temporary fix for the traffic bottleneck between State Route 527 and Interstate 5, and added that $5 million has been set aside to start preliminary engineering work next year for adding more lanes to I-405 in that heavily used area.
“We need to build more capacity eventually,” Inslee said.
For now, the shoulder lane stretches for 1.8 miles, and despite the presence of the solid white line, WSDOT staff said drivers can get in and out of the lane at any point.
Inslee was joined in celebrating the opening of the lane by Secretary of Transportation Roger Millar and Bothell Deputy Mayor Davina Duerr, who is a member of the I-405/SR 167 Executive Advisory Group.
“We need a transportation system with reliability that keeps everyone moving,” Duerr said.
In addition to Inslee, Millar and Duerr, other officials attended the lane opening, including 1st Legislative District Rep. Shelley Kloba and 41st Legislative District Rep. Judy Clibborn, who is the House Transportation Chair.
In addition to reformatting the shoulder, installing electronic traffic signals and adding pull-off points outside of the shoulder lane, a noise wall was built to limit the traffic sounds heard in nearby neighborhoods as part of this project. The $11.5 million project was entirely funded by toll revenue.
“We want to take the toll money and plow it back into traffic relief,” Inslee said.
The shoulder lane project moved at a quick pace, with construction starting in January, and was initially scheduled to open in 2018.
“I really appreciate the work it took to get this done early,” Inslee said.
More information about the project, which was constructed by Graham Contracting Ltd., can be found at wsdot.wa.gov/projects/i405/peakuseshoulder.