Drivers who use the reversible Interstate 5 Express Lanes in Seattle will notice a big change starting Monday. The Washington State Department of Transportation is activating an automated system that will make reversing the lanes happen four times faster.
WSDOT has done the changeover by hand for 40 years, with crews in the field going out and reversing signs, closing gates and putting up safety nets to stop vehicles that may be going the wrong way when the lanes are reversed. That process takes an hour.
The new automated system takes 15 minutes. WSDOT says it will cut down on congestion, even for drivers who don’t use the express lanes.
The system includes automated gates, new LED signs, upgraded electrical systems, new fiber optic systems, and new cameras that can tell WSDOT if all gates and signs are working properly. All can be controlled from WSDOT’s Traffic Management Center in Shoreline.
WSDOT says the $6.6 million project was mostly paid with federal funds. $200,000 came from the gas tax.
Information compiled by KING 5's Travis Pittman