New congestion toll lanes for Seattle area

| 5/5/2008

Drivers in the Seattle area can choose to pay tolls to travel in lanes once reserved for high-occupancy vehicles in King County.

The first-ever high-occupancy toll lanes project in Washington state began on Saturday, May 3, with the conversion of HOV lanes to HOT lanes on state Route 167 between Renton and Auburn. The route runs parallel to Interstate 5 between Tacoma and Seattle, carrying 120,000 vehicles per day.

The toll rate will vary depending on congestion, U.S. Department of Transportation officials stated in a press release. The release, however, did not state what those rates would be. Peak times will carry the highest rates. Tolls will be collected electronically to keep traffic moving.

Acting Federal Highway Administrator Jim Ray announced that FHWA provided $5.13 million for the project.

Ray said the HOT lanes will relieve congestion and keep transit and carpools reliable.