Herald copy editor Christina Okeson tossed me a question about apparent striping problems connected to the I-405 express toll lanes between Lynnwood and Bellevue. “It’s like someone wedged a fingernail under and just peeled. Some places it’s sitting in lumps, other places it’s gone. Makes me wonder about the quality of the work, material, etc.”
Lisa Hodgson, I-405 design engineering manager with the Washington State Department of Transportation, gave this explanation: “On certain areas of I-405, WSDOT uses temporary lane marking tape, which, over the past year, has allowed us to make over a dozen adjustments to the express toll lane access points between Bellevue and Lynnwood.
“This approach has given us the ability to respond to driver feedback and to our own observations of how drivers are using the express toll lanes. For example, we have lengthened some access points to give drivers more room to merge, and have modified others to provide drivers more clarity about where they are allowed to enter and exit the lanes.
“Temporary tape is a cost-effective approach that allows us the flexibility to make these changes quickly and prevents scarring that would occur on the roadway if we had to grind off permanent markings.
“Because the tape is meant to be temporary, we recognize that there is a certain amount of maintenance required until it is replaced with permanent markings. Repairing the temporary lane markings requires dry weather and minimum temperatures in order to ensure it adheres properly to the roadway. …
“We plan to continue monitoring the temporary tape and replacing damaged striping in the coming months as weather permits. The Legislature has set the expectation that WSDOT will complete a two-year evaluation of the express toll lanes starting in September 2017 and provide updated performance information. We do not plan to place any permanent striping until after we have provided this report to the Legislature.”