Regional Boards > Northwest

I-405 Express Toll Lanes Renton to Bellevue Project

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jakeroot:
The current HOV lane is quite fun as, like the 167, it only has HOV restrictions from 5am to 7pm. On my trips from Bellevue back down south, I often delay my return until after 7 so I can utilise the lane. Even the flyover at the 167 is signed for 5am to 7pm, so you better believe I use that thing too. Oh, and of course, the 167 HOT lanes are ALSO 5am to 7pm, so I can use them too. It's a real treat!

Still, I would rather the new setup where I can simply pay to use the lane(s) when I need them. Right now, it's a total cluster-F and no matter how much spare change you have, you're going to wait.

Leaving Bellevue southbound has to be one of my least favorite drives in the state. Quite gorgeous scenery, as with most places, but the traffic is just immense at rush hour. This will be a welcome improvement.

jrouse:

--- Quote from: vdeane on June 07, 2021, 01:11:50 PM ---Are they HOT lanes or just regular toll lanes?  I can't imagine that HOV traffic would be happy with losing their lane if they're just regular toll lanes.

--- End quote ---
They are HOT lanes.  WSDOT uses the term “express toll lanes” for this facility. 

jakeroot:

--- Quote from: jrouse on June 09, 2021, 10:13:19 AM ---
--- Quote from: vdeane on June 07, 2021, 01:11:50 PM ---Are they HOT lanes or just regular toll lanes?  I can't imagine that HOV traffic would be happy with losing their lane if they're just regular toll lanes.

--- End quote ---
They are HOT lanes.  WSDOT uses the term “express toll lanes” for this facility.

--- End quote ---

Not sure what the situation is in California, but 'HOT lanes' and 'express toll lanes' are not the same thing up here. HOT lanes do not require a toll tag to use the HOV lanes for free, whereas express toll lanes currently do (you are automatically billed by mail if no transponder is present).

The 167 uses HOT lanes, whereas the 405 would be a continuation of the existing 'express toll lanes' that currently end in downtown Bellevue. The long-term question is whether WSDOT will convert the 167 to an express toll lane. Everyone who uses the 405 express toll lanes for free can use the 167 HOT lanes for free, but not everyone who uses the 167 HOT lanes for free can use the 405 express toll lanes for free.

When the 167 first launched, it did not have any sort of 'flex' tag option. WSDOT offered a shield that could be applied to keep drivers from being tolled, but I don't know how many people have these (we used to tape it to the window when we needed it). One major issue that WSDOT will need to consider are those who still have the older transponders (large square decals or even the smaller rectangular decals offered for the Narrows Bridge), as they currently have no way to "tell" the 405 that they are either HOV or not HOV; if they still have the old shield thing, that would just tell the system that they don't have a transponder and they'll get billed by mail.

The goal of this project is to create continuous toll lanes from Puyallup (eventually) to Lynnwood, so they need to reconcile the differences between the two systems at some point to avoid unintentional billing or violations: the former is most likely when 167 HOV traffic enters the 405 express toll lanes expecting to continue their free ride, only to get a mailed bill, and the latter occurs when a solo driver using the 405 express toll lanes without a transponder (aka, paying by mail) continues onto the 167 HOT lanes, which they cannot use solo without a transponder (there is no pay by mail system on the 167, so they would be ticketed).

jrouse:
A HOT lane is an HOV lane that is opened to toll paying vehicles.  That is what they are doing on I-405. Yes, they are requiring HOVs to carry a transponder and they may be raising the number of occupants needed to qualify as an HOV.  A true “express toll lane” is one where everybody pays.  Both types of facilities are a type of a priced (tolled) managed lane.  The MUTCD requires that priced managed lanes be signed as “express lanes” (SR-167 predates that requirement which is why you don’t see them labeled that way).   I figure WSDOT added the word “toll” for the I-405 in order to minimize confusion with the “express lanes” that are found elsewhere in Seattle.

stevashe:

--- Quote from: jakeroot on June 09, 2021, 03:57:48 AM ---The current HOV lane is quite fun as, like the 167, it only has HOV restrictions from 5am to 7pm. On my trips from Bellevue back down south, I often delay my return until after 7 so I can utilise the lane. Even the flyover at the 167 is signed for 5am to 7pm, so you better believe I use that thing too. Oh, and of course, the 167 HOT lanes are ALSO 5am to 7pm, so I can use them too. It's a real treat!

--- End quote ---

Do you have any experience with the existing express toll lanes? They are free not only at night at 7pm and before 5am, but also on the weekends. The vast majority of my trips on northern I-405 have been for free in the past year since I've been mainly traveling at night and weekends, for obviously reasons. Definitely a real treat there as well!


--- Quote from: jrouse on June 09, 2021, 02:11:11 PM ---A HOT lane is an HOV lane that is opened to toll paying vehicles.  That is what they are doing on I-405. Yes, they are requiring HOVs to carry a transponder and they may be raising the number of occupants needed to qualify as an HOV.  A true “express toll lane” is one where everybody pays.  Both types of facilities are a type of a priced (tolled) managed lane.  The MUTCD requires that priced managed lanes be signed as “express lanes” (SR-167 predates that requirement which is why you don’t see them labeled that way).   I figure WSDOT added the word “toll” for the I-405 in order to minimize confusion with the “express lanes” that are found elsewhere in Seattle.

--- End quote ---

Yes, that's definitely why the word "toll" is used, otherwise you'd have two very different types of facilities with the same name. Similarly, WSDOT maintains a distinction in the use of "HOT lanes" versus "Express Toll Lanes" at least when communicating with the public to distinguish between whether payment by mail is an option or not, as Jake explained. You are correct that since the I-405 lanes are priced managed lanes, they are HOT lanes when speaking generally, but that's just not the term WSDOT uses, which creates confusion when comparing with priced managed lanes in other areas of the country that go by different names.

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