I-405 shoulder project on schedule to be complete Monday

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is hoping to have work completed on the Interstate 405 Northbound Peak Use Shoulder Lane Project by the afternoon commute on Monday, April 24.

I-405 northbound travelers experience heavy congestion from roughly 2 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, especially from State Route 527 to Interstate 5. WSDOT is hoping to relieve that congestion by opening up the shoulder to traffic during peak hours.

“We’re expecting to ease that bottleneck; it will help ease the 527 merge,” Craig Smiley, a spokesperson for the project, said.

Drivers will know when the shoulder is open by overhead lane control signs. The peak-use lane will stretch for 1.8 miles.

In emergency situations, the lane will be closed via the signs until the problem is cleared. There will also be four emergency pullouts along the peak-use shoulder lane.

The overhead lane control allows WSDOT to open the lane whenever there is congestion, not limiting it to the typical hours on weekday afternoons and evenings.

The project also includes a new noise wall along the interstate to moderate the traffic noise heard in nearby neighborhoods.

The $11.5 million project, which began construction in January and is being executed by Graham Contracting Ltd., has been entirely funded by I-405 toll revenue.

“It’s money that’s being reinvested right into the corridor,” Smiley said, adding the design work on the project was done last fall. “It’s been a really quick turnaround.”

He said WSDOT first came up with the idea in 2012, when looking at how they can ease traffic within their right of way.

“It’s a natural spot to add capacity,” Smiley said.

For more information, visit wsdot.wa.gov/projects/i405/peakuseshoulder.

Meanwhile, further south, just before the SR 527 exit, WSDOT is also working to add a buffer lane for those getting in and out of the toll lane. Smiley said that project should be complete some time this week (after the Reporter’s deadline), weather permitting.

“It requires two consecutive days of good weather,” he said.

This lane, which was originally scheduled to be complete last week, will stretch for less than half a mile between NE 195th Street and SR 527 to give drivers more space to move over.