Washington State DOT picks Telvent to do AET systems for three new toll projects

July 27, 2012

2012-07-27: Telvent has won an $18m project to do design, installation and testing of three new all-electronic toll (AET) systems for Washington State DOT in the Seattle metro area. They beat Raytheon and TransCore for the work. The toll systems are for:

(1) a single AET toll point for state route 99 Alaskan Way replacement Tunnel covering 2x3 lanes near the portal in downtown Seattle with variable pricing to begin operations in 2015

(2) a single point 2x3 lanes AET on SR520 for the replacement Evergreen Point Floating Bridge near its eastern landing to open in 2014

(3) I-405 Express Toll Lanes with dynamic pricing, Bellevue to Lynnwood with multiple toll points

Job could grow from 3 to 7 toll systems

The contract can be amended to add up to four extra toll systems with negotiated additions to the price.

Telvent will implement its SmartMobility Tolling System and extend its Remote Operations and Maintenance System (ROMS), currently helping collect tolls on the state's old SR520 bridge - to monitor toll systems operations and help with accuracy of the toll system.

Telvent's chairman and CEO, Ignacio Gonzalez is quoted in a statement: "After the successful implementation of the ORT system for Washington State's SR 520 bridge project, Telvent is excited to again partner with WSDOT on this important new project that will benefit both systems operators and drivers. We are confident that Telvent's all-electronic tolling systems will allow for efficient tolling operations."

The company reports it has six all-electronic or open road toll systems, one of which is the TX183A tollroad in the northern part of the Austin metro area. It opened ORT+cash, then was advanced to all-electronic.

Telvent is a large IT and business services company owned by Schneider Electric, a venerable old public company traded on the Paris stock exchange and head officed in Paris. The American toll systems portion of Telvent was previously the privately held Caseta out of Texas.

SR99 Alaskan Way Tunnel

The SR99 project replaces an aging elevated 2x3 lane roadway named the Alaskan Way Viaduct with a 2x2 lane tunnel built inside a precast segmental tunnel built with a 49.5ft diameter tunnel boring machine, plus a surface boulevard. The SR99 route is a north-south bypass of the west side of the Seattle central business district and nearby the port. It is an important transit facility with heavy bus volumes carrying an estimated 24k people/day.

The viaduct carries 110k vehicles/day.

I-5 is the major north-south highway some blocks away just east of the CBD.

In addition to the tolled tunnel there will be a new untolled 2x3 lane surface arterial built along the route to take the place of the old 2x3 lane viaduct.

The state legislature endorsed the project in the spring of 2009. Prime contractors Dragados/Perini Tudor were signed up January 2011 for the design-build contract of $1.35b. The FEIS came out July 2011, and the federal ROD was signed August 2011.

Diggin pits for TBM

Launch pits for the TBM are currently in construction and tunnel boring is due to begin 2013 for completion late 2014. The route is due to open to traffic and tolls late 2015.

Project cost of the tunnel is around $1.96b, overall corridor cost $3.11b. Tolls were to support $400m of that according to a 2009 study.

Tolls will vary by direction during peak periods, with tunnel toll rates ranging from $2.75 to $5.00 in the year of opening (2015 dollars).

see table of present toll rates below

By 2030, according to the modeling, diversion will be minor in peak periods but up to 46% off-peak.

Traffic weekdays in the toll tunnel in 2030 is projected to be 57k to 62k, while without tolls it would be 94k.  I-5 weekdays carries over 200k and is projected at 270k in 2030.

WsDOT now says: "While our 2009 tolling study found we could generate up to $400 million in toll funding, we now expect that tolls could raise less due to lessons learned from SR 520 tolling and the economic recession. During off-peak times, some drivers are more willing to take another route, even if it is longer, than pay a toll."


SR520 floating bridge

The SR520 project extends some 13 miles east of Seattle CBD at I-5 to I-405 in Bellevue and involves expansion of a 2x2 lane route with 2x3 lanes including replacement of the existing floating bridge over Lake Washington.

Project cost is $4.65b.

Tolls were collected on the old bridge from its opening in August 1963 until its bonds were paid off in June 1979.

With the start of the replacement project tolls (now all-electronic and variable by time of day) were reimposed at the old bridge Dec 29 2011.

Tolls are planned to support a $1 billion in capital cost.

WsDOT reports that for the first six months, tolling on the 520 bridge is working as planned, both to raise funds and to relieve congestion with variable pricing.

"Weekday traffic is free flowing for the first time in decades during the peak commute times, and revenue generated by tolling is ahead of forecasts. This trajectory puts us slightly ahead of the finance plan, keeping the Washington State Department of Transportation on track with making the debt payments needed to pay for the bridge construction."

Peak tolls with 'Good To Go!' brand 6C sticker tag transponders - which account for 80% of traffic - are $3.59 in peak periods, while the 20% without transponders have a 'Pay By Mail' brand or imaged peak toll of $5.13.

Time savings from the variable pricing management of traffic in peak hours is 12 to 15 minutes. Toll revenue is running at about $50m/year.

Good for transit too

Bus ridership is up 25% and vanpools 18%.

Construction of the new bridge is well under way and the first huge pontoon section are due to be floated to their positions on the lake this summer with the new bridge due to open late 2014.

Unlike the earlier tolling there is no specified end-date to tolls in the authorizing legislation. Toll revenues may only be used in the corridor but they will continue to provide an ongoing revenue stream for maintenance and improvements and to manage free flow traffic.


I-405 widening and toll express lanes

Construction is just getting under way on widening of the Eastside Corridor I-405 from Bellevue near SR520 north.

The current works will provide 17 miles of express toll lanes. These are being created out of conversion of a carpool or HOV lane plus addition of a lane each direction in part. Elsehere and 2x1 toll lanes out of adding tolls to an HOV lane.

Interchanges are being improved with braided ramps.

Construction cost is an estimated $334m.

The project is due to open the toll lanes late 2015.

project website:


The longer (40 mile, 65km) corridor from I-5 all the way south to SR167 has been the subject of studies so the segment getting under way from Bellevue to Bothell is likely to be extended both north and south to provide a longer and continuous toll express lane system.

study of larger eastside corridor tolling on I-405/SR167:


TOLLROADSnews 2012-07-27

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