South King County-area drivers soon will face the first of many big changes associated with the State Route 167 HOT (high-occupancy toll) lanes pilot project between Auburn and Renton.
State Department of Transportation crews have started placing a second white stripe between the left general-purpose lane and the existing HOV (high-occupancy vehicle) lane on both directions of the Valley Freeway (SR-167). This second stripe means the end of unlimited access in and out of the lane. Instead, drivers must enter and exit the lane at six northbound and four southbound HOT lane access zones.
Although the HOT lanes will not open to solo drivers until April 26, current HOV lane users must use the new access zones or risk a ticket for crossing a double-white line.
The HOT lanes will cover 12 miles in the northbound lanes, from 15th Street Southwest in Auburn to Interstate 405 in Renton. There are six onramps to the highway in the tolled northbound lanes.
In addition, there are nine miles of southbound HOT lanes, from I-405 to about South 288th Street. There are four entrances to the highway in the tolled southbound lanes.
Tolls will range from 50 cents to $9, usually between 5 a.m. and 7 p.m. The heavier the traffic, the higher the toll.
NEW ROAD RULES
When using a HOT (high-occupancy toll) lane:
• Solo drivers must have a properly mounted and operating Good To Go transponder.
• All vehicles must enter HOT lanes only at access points designated by a dashed white line. It is illegal to cross the double-white line.
• Transit vehicles, vanpools, carpools and motorcycles may use the HOT lanes toll-free. (No transponder necessary.)
• No vehicles heavier than 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight are allowed to use HOT or HOV lanes.
• To open a Good To Go! account and obtain a transponder, visit www.wsdot.wa.gov/goodtogo and fill out an electronic application form, or call customer service at 1-866-936-8246.