The Washington State Department of Transportation announced tolling will start on the State Route 520 bridge across Lake Washington on December 29th. This may effect you, even if you’re not a 520 commuter. Traffic experts expect a good portion of the current traffic on SR-520 to take alternate routes once tolling starts. This will add extra traffic to I-90 across the lake, I-405 and I-5 around both ends of the lake, and State Route 522 around the north end of Lake Washington.
The tolls will help fund a replacement for the world’s longest floating bridge. There won’t be toll booths like the ones that funded the original Evergreen Point Floating Bridge, instead a camera system will photograph license plates and Good To Go Passes. The system then either deducts your toll from your Good To Go account, or sends the owner of the vehicle a bill by mail. Even if you’re an infrequent 520 commuter, a Good To Go Pass will save you $1.50 each way. Good To Go Passes are available at all Costco, QFC, Fred Meyer and Safeway stores. The passes will also work for tolls on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, the SR-167 HOT lanes, and future tolls around the Seattle Metro area.
Tolls across the bridge will vary depending on the time of day and the number of axles on a vehicle. During peak hours, weekdays from 7 a.m. to 9 am. and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., non Good To Go Pass holders will pay up to $5 each way. The price will vary at other times and on weekends. It will still be free to cross from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.
The D.O.T. and local transit agencies are also improving other commuter alternatives across SR-520 including 130 extra bus trips for 700 crossing the bridge weekdays, a new route on SR-522, and improvements to bus stops and park and rides. They’re also offering support for companies to help their employees find new ways to commute, work at home or flex their schedules to avoid peak toll rates.
Here’s a D.O.T. rendering of the proposed new 6-lane SR-520 bridge across Lake Washington:
The D.O.T. recommends you get and activate your Good To Go Pass now, and avoid the last minute rush.
More information is available online at GoodToGo520.org.
The entire project from building bridge pontoons in Aberdeen to completion of an even longer floating bridge is featured here in Popular Mechanics.
Check out some videos from the D.O.T. on the 520 plans including more detailed tolling information:
Here’s a look at the current plan for the bridge between Interstate-5 and Medina: