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Prepare now for I-405 express toll lanes

Harvey Field
Published:2015-09-16 Roads
Prepare now for I-405 express toll lanes    Print Snohomish Times    
Prepare now for I-405 express toll lanes

It’s beginning to look a lot like express toll lanes on Interstate 405 between Bellevue and Lynnwood. With only 12 days until launch, changes on the roadway are signaling that it’s crunch time for drivers to prepare.

On the morning of Sept. 3, engineers from the Washington State Department of Transportation surveyed the number of Good To Go! passes on the road from the 128th Street overpass to southbound I-405. Their counts revealed 26 percent of vehicles had a Good To Go! pass, a 20 percent increase from late June.

“Some drivers are getting the message, but it’s getting down to the wire, and we know the rush is only going to continue,” said Jennifer Charlebois, toll systems engineer for the Washington State Department of Transportation.

Choose the pass that’s right for you
Regular I-405 carpoolers—or those that want to be ready for anything—should get the Good To Go! Flex Pass before the lanes open Sunday, Sept. 27. The Flex Pass gives drivers the option to travel in the express toll lanes in TOLL or HOV mode depending on the number of passengers in the vehicle. Solo drivers, or those that rarely carpool, can use any Good To Go! pass to pay the toll, or Pay By Mail at a higher rate.

“We’re already experiencing the last minute rush at our call center—which unfortunately means longer wait times, but we are determined to help drivers prepare so they can take full advantage of the option for a faster, more reliable trip in the express toll lanes when they open,” said Charlebois.

Carpoolers need a Good To Go! Flex Pass
Qualifying carpools must have a Flex Pass set to HOV mode to travel for free in the express toll lanes. Drivers can also use it to pay the toll on all other tolled facilities in the state like the SR 520 and Tacoma Narrows bridges.

“We can’t say it enough: I-405 carpools must, must, must have a Flex Pass linked to a Good To Go! account to travel toll free in the express toll lanes,” said Charlebois. “If a carpool uses any other type of Good To Go! pass or account, they will get tolled. If they use the lanes without a pass, they will get a bill in the mail.”

In addition, new carpool rules set by the Washington State Transportation Commission will require three or more people during weekday commute periods from 5 to 9 a.m. and 3 to 7 p.m. Two people qualify as a carpool all other times, including weekends.

Several options for getting a Flex Pass
• Purchase at a retail location: The fastest way to get a Flex Pass is to purchase it for $15 at a local retailer. Flex Passes will be available at several local retailers along the corridor, including QFC, Walgreens and soon at Fred Meyer stores.
• Purchase from Good To Go!: Drivers can also purchase a Flex Pass for $15 online. A Flex Pass will already be activated if it is purchased through Good To Go!. It takes about a week to receive your Flex Pass through Good To Go! customer service.
• Free pass for regular I-405 carpoolers: Drivers who carpool at least once a week on I-405 qualify for a free Flex Pass through WSDOT’s partnership with RideshareOnline.com and local partnering networks. It may take up to three weeks to receive a free Flex Pass in the mail and you may not receive it before Sept. 27.
• Swap it out. SR 167 HOT lane drivers with the old, on/off switchable pass can call Good To Go! customer service to exchange it for a Flex Pass.

Activate and install your Good To Go! pass
Getting a pass is the first step, but those who receive a free Flex Pass on Rideshareonline.com or purchase one through a retailer must activate it on an existing Good To Go! account. Drivers can also open a new account with a $30 prepaid balance by visiting MyGoodToGo.com.

After the Flex Pass is activated on a Good To Go! account, drivers should install the new pass in their vehicle under the rearview mirror. Existing customers need to remember to remove any portion of the existing Good To Go! pass from the vehicle windshield. Drivers should only have one pass installed in a vehicle at a time.

Restriping and restrictions coming soon
In the meantime, WSDOT continues preparations on the roadway. On Friday night, Sept. 18, contractor crews will begin to restripe the HOV lane between Bothell and Lynnwood with double white lines. The work will continue in the southern portion of the project area the following weekend. Once installed, the new roadway striping will limit HOV lane access to designated entry and exit points. This work is weather dependent; if rain delays the restriping work, the Sept. 27 opening date could also be delayed.

I-405 express toll lanes overview
WSDOT is building a new lane adjacent to the carpool lane between Northeast Sixth Street in Bellevue and State Route 522 in Bothell to create a dual express toll lane system. The existing carpool lane between Bothell and Lynnwood will serve as a single express toll lane.

When the system opens, drivers will have the option to pay a toll for a faster, more reliable trip using a 17-mile system of express toll lanes from Bellevue to Lynnwood. Toll rates set by the Washington State Transportation Commission will adjust based on traffic congestion to keep the lanes moving at 45 mph or better.
Visit GoodToGo405.org to learn more about I-405 express toll lanes. An animated video gives an example of what a trip may look like in the express toll lanes.

Hyperlinks within the release:
• I-405 express toll lanes: GoodToGo405.org
• System signs revealed press release: www.wsdot.wa.gov/News/2015/09/405TollSigns.htm
• Express toll lane carpool rules and exemptions: www.wsdot.wa.gov/Tolling/405/carpool.htm
• Good To Go! retail locations: www.wsdot.wa.gov/GoodToGo/retail.htm
• Good To Go! customer services contact information: www.wsdot.wa.gov/GoodToGo/contacts.htm
• Free Flex Pass information: www.wsdot.wa.gov/Tolling/405/freepass.htm
• Sign-up for a RideShareOnline.com account: www.rideshareonline.com
• Set-up or log-in to a Good to Go! account: mygoodtogo.com/olcsc/AccountLogin.do
• Double white line signage press release: www.wsdot.wa.gov/News/2015/09/i405etl_doublewhitelinesigns.htm
• I-405 YouTube videos: www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tzocP4UfZk




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