More traffic on I-405? WSDOT says its ready

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by JAKE WHITTENBERG / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @jakewhittenberg

KING5.com

Posted on March 27, 2013 at 8:10 AM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 27 at 8:20 AM

With the announcement of Google adding an additional 1,000 employees to its Kirkland campus, there is some concern about how traffic could be impacted on the already congested Interstate 405.

The Washington state Department of Transportation says it’s ready.

"We really looked at how population employment is going to affect the entire east side, not just by Google," said Kim Henry, WSDOT project manager. "405 has been at over max capacity for a number of years."

Henry said the I-405 master plan includes express tolling, which is designed to ease congestion by charging drivers a variable toll on an additional lane of traffic.

Google alone isn't expected to have a dramatic impact on traffic. WSDOT has been working for more than a decade on ways to reduce congestion. Express toll lanes between Bellevue and Lynnwood are under construction and will open in 2015.

WSDOT also said it may increase the HOV requirements on I-405 from two to three passengers. It could also propose a bus rapid transit system to allow buses to flow more freely in gridlock traffic.

INRIX, a global traffic information company, estimates Seattle has the 8th worse traffic congestion in the U.S. Seattle metro drivers wasted an average of 2.5 hours in gridlock traffic in February, up from last year at the same time.

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