Shoulder driving coming to I-405 choke point by spring

Evening commuters should have an extra lane to use for 1.8 miles of their trip by spring.

The Washington State Department of Transportation recently selected a contractor, Graham Contracting Ltd. of Bellevue, and its $7.29 million bid to create the peak-use shoulder lane on northbound I-405.

When finished, drivers will be able to drive on the shoulder in the designated area — from Highway 527 in Bothell to I-5 in Lynnwood — when special overhead signs give the OK based on congestion levels.

The state expanded the interstate south of Highway 522 in Bothell as part of its tolling project but left the same number of lanes at the north end, exacerbating a bottleneck that now funnels five lanes into three.

The shoulder lane is the first project to be paid for with toll revenue. Money from tolls far outpaced projections, meaning the project is getting underway a year earlier than planned.

As part of the project, contractor crews will re-stripe the roadway, add new pavement in certain areas and install overhead lane control signs. Crews will also build a new noise wall designed to reduce highway noise for nearby neighbors. Construction activities are to start this winter.

Long-term plans call for adding a second toll lane in the north end, a direct access ramp from Highway 522 onto the express toll lanes, and direct-access ramps at a rebuilt Highway 527 interchange.

Have a question? Email us at streetsmarts@heraldnet.com. Please include your first and last name and city of residence. Look for updates on the Street Smarts blog.

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