Tolls, 3-person carpools coming to I-405?

OLYMPIA -- The Washington State Transportation Commission will discuss a number of changes to Interstate 405 that include tolling express lanes and changing the amount of people required to drive in the carpool lanes.

The I-405 Project Director, Kim Henry, said construction is already underway along the interstate between Lynnwood and Bellevue. Crews are in the process of adding an additional lane northbound and southbound.

This lane will be an express toll lane that anyone can use at a price. Officials say the public will determine that rate based on how many people use it. During peak commuting hours, drivers will see a higher price. Non-peak hour rates will be lower.

The commission is also considering changing the definition of a car pool to reduce the number of vehicles using the HOV lanes. Currently, two people in one vehicle qualify to use the HOV lanes but that number might increase to three occupants.

Henry said, “We know jobs and population is going to continue to grow over here. Without those types of improvements its going to continue to affect our economy as well. So we do need to be taking a look at how we can continue to improve mobility throughout the eastside.”

WSDOT said the new lanes will be up and running by the end of summer or beginning of fall in 2015. The commission will discuss these issues and more during a public meeting today in Olympia.