If you drive Interstate 405, get ready for express toll lane price changes starting Friday, March 1st. The maximum rate is set to rise from the current $10 to $15, the minimum toll rate will change from 75 cents to $1, and the evening tolling expiration time will shift from 7 PM to 8 PM.

After considerable public comment, the Washington State Transportation Commission authorized these toll lane changes. Toll rates could have been even higher.

Why these changes? The current $10 maximum is consistently reached for morning and evening commuters, particularly on Mondays through Thursdays. The toll rate is variable depending on traffic demand and volumes, updated every 5 minutes. So many choose to use the toll lane that the target minimum of 45 mph is rarely reached. The rise to the new $15 maximum is intended to reduce the volume of traffic in the toll lanes so they at least reach that target of 45 mph.

In addition, national highway construction inflation has hit the Washington Dept. of Transportation (WSDOT) budget hard, making it more difficult to fully fund road improvements including paving projects on potholed roadways. WSDOT needs additional funding to keep up with the rising costs of maintenance and construction.

One of those road construction projects is expansion of I-405 from NE 160th in Bothell to the SR 527 interchange in Canyon Park. The pandemic delayed this project and now costs have far exceeded original construction projections. Preliminary construction on this project is just getting underway and is now expected to finish in 2028.

Another expansion of I-405 is well underway from Coal Creek Parkway into Renton.

For drivers with Good To Go passes, three-person carpools will still be able to use the express toll lanes for no charge. For information about Good To Go passes, visit the WSDOT website for all of that information.

The Transportation Commission also authorized toll lane rate changes on SR 167 from Renton thru the Auburn area.