[Editor: This is the text of a May 31, 2016, news release from the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT).]
New southbound SR 167 lane in Auburn opening early
New lane will operate as an HOV lane until HOT lane construction is complete next year
AUBURN — Carpoolers and transit riders are getting early access to part of the new High Occupancy Toll Lanes in Auburn, with a 3.5 mile southbound section opening Sunday, June 5.
The Washington State Department of Transportation originally planned to wait to open the lane until the full eight-mile extension is complete in early 2017. Instead, officials decided to open this stretch as a HOV lane early to help keep traffic moving.
“We want to provide the benefits of the new lane to SR 167 users as soon as possible,” said SR 167 Project Engineer, Sharif Shaklawun. “The pavement is ready to be driven on now, so we are opening this to carpoolers and bus riders early while we finish up roadway widening for the entire stretch and complete toll equipment installation.”
This segment, built as part of the SR 167 8th to 277th Southbound HOT Lane project, extends from 37th Street Southwest to 15th Street Southwest. Ultimately, the project will extend the southbound HOT lane a total of eight miles from south of 37th Street Northwest in Auburn to Eighth Street East in Pacific. Once the HOT lane operation begins, the new lane will remain free to people in two-person carpools and buses, and will also give solo drivers the option to pay a toll for a faster trip.
For now, single occupant vehicles using the southbound SR 167 HOT Lanes will need to exit the HOT lane at 37th Street Northwest and continue their trip in the general-purpose lanes. This is similar to the southbound I-405 express toll lanes, which transition to a HOV lane in Bellevue. Carpoolers and buses will be able to continue their trip through the newly opened segment.
The new 3.5 miles of HOV lane will open Sunday, June 5, after a series of weekend ramp and lane closures at the SR 167/ State Route 18 interchange starting Friday, June 3. Drivers using SR 167 and SR 18 through Auburn during the June 3-5 weekend should prepare for possible delays. These closures are necessary to complete pavement repair to the SR 18 bridge approach. For full closure details, visit the King County Construction page.
As construction progresses on the SR 167 HOT Lane extension, additional southbound segments of these lanes will be similarly opened early to carpools and buses. Once tolling equipment has been installed and tested in early 2017, the new lanes will be added to the SR 167 HOT Lane system creating a nearly 14-mile continuous southbound stretch of HOT lanes from Renton to Pacific.
WSDOT keeps people, businesses and the economy moving by operating and improving the state’s transportation systems. To learn more about what we’re doing, go to www.wsdot.wa.gov/news for pictures, videos, news and blogs. Real time traffic information is available at www.wsdot.wa.gov/traffic or by dialing 511.
Emily Pace, Tolling communications, 206-455-1176
Caitlin Morris, I-405 project communications, 425-450-2559