Tolls placed on the Washington State Route 520 bridge over Lake Washington in 2011 pushed 15,000 more vehicles per day onto the nearby Interstate 90 bridge. Officials admit to the traffic diversion but say the way to fix it is to toll the I-90 bridge as well.
Tolls on both bridges would eliminate choices for east-west travel between I-5 in Seattle and I-405 in Bellevue.
With the SR 520 bridge already tolled, many motorists and truckers are opting for the toll-free I-90 option – 15,000 more per day, in fact – according to the Washington State Department of Transportation.
WSDOT has rolled out a survey to truckers and carriers to test the waters for tolls on the I-90 bridge. The survey, which is anonymous, asks about bridge use, congestion and about possible circumstances a trucker or carrier would resort to using a tolled bridge. Click here to take the survey.
Proposed tolls on I-90 would not stay with I-90, according to WSDOT.
“Revenue from I-90 tolls could fund the necessary improvements on SR 520 between I-5 and Medina, allowing for a safer, more reliable Cross Lake Washington Corridor,” the agency states.
The agency is hoping to publish a draft environmental statement about tolling the bridge sometime in mid-2014, and is targeting early 2015 for the state Legislature to take up a bill to authorize I-90 tolls.
Toll revenue would be part of a $4.13 billion upgrade to the trade corridor that includes SR 520 and I-90, according to WSDOT. Tolls on SR 520 began in late December 2011.
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