Solo drivers soon will be able to commute in a carpool lane from Renton all the way to Pacific on southbound state Route 167.
For a price, of course.
The state Department of Transportation is set to open a 6-mile stretch of High Occupancy Toll lane between South 277th Street in Kent and Eighth Street East in Pacific on Dec. 17.
The new lane will be available for free to carpools of two or more and for a toll ranging from 50 cents to $9 for solo drivers. The rate is set based on traffic congestion: the more congestion, the higher the rate.
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The current High Occupancy Toll lane runs from Interstate 405 to 37th Street Northwest in Auburn.
Solo drivers wanting to take advantage of the High Occupancy Toll lane need to obtain a Good To Go pass for their vehicle, according to the Transportation Department. A pay-by-mail option will not be available.
“We know HOT lane drivers have been eagerly waiting for this new extension to bring relief to a major bottleneck in Auburn, and we’re excited to bring this new option to them a few months earlier than planned,” said Jennifer Charlebois, the Transportation Department’s director of systems and engineering.
On Dec. 15, crews will uncover new toll signs along the freeway, and “HOV only” will be displayed on digital signs over the new lane.
Tolls will begin at 5 a.m. on Dec. 17.
Solo drivers will be charged the toll in place when they enter the HOT lane, even if a higher rate is in effect farther down the road, the Transportation Department announced.
The nearly $84 million project was paid for with money from the 2005 gas-tax increase approved by the Legislature.
The project also included the construction of traffic signals and sidewalks at Ellingson Road and Eighth Street East as well as ramp meters at the Ellingson and Eighth Street on-ramps to state Route 167.
It also paid for a culvert to carry Jovita Creek under the freeway, making it easier for native fish to reach spawning grounds.
Good To Go
Good To Go passes that allow solo drivers to use High Occupancy Toll lanes can be obtained at select QFC and Fred Meyer stores or by logging on to mygoodtogo.com.