OLYMPIA -- The I-405 toll lanes will be free for everyone to use on nights and weekends beginning Friday night.
The change came following the emergency action from the Washington state Transportation Commission Tuesday. Tolls will be suspended weeknights from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. It will also be suspended on weekends and six major holidays.
Instead of showing toll rates, the electronic signs for the lanes say "open to all."
As for the direct access ramps at NE 6th Street in Bellevue and NE 128th Street in Totem Lake, those can only be used for transit and carpools with two or more people whether or not they have a Good To Go pass. But weekday toll-paying customers can still use them regardless of how many people are in the car. WSDOT says this will mean limited exits for southbound drivers at those locations.
The changes came at the request of WSDOT, which is under heavy scrutiny from state lawmakers and drivers over the handling of the I-405 express toll lanes. Drivers complain tolls have made congestion worse, and the amount has reached the maximum $10 more times than initially expected.
Rep. Mark Harmsworth, R-44th District, who has been an active opponent of the tolls says this new change still doesn't go far enough.
"It doesn't help the core problem which is the congestion on rush hour traffic," he said.
The changes will remain in effect for 120 days or until the commission makes them permanent during its meeting in May.