Seattle's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and More | Seattle, Washington | KING5.com

State Route 99 tunnel toll-free for first few months

Toll rates are already set for the new State Route 99 tunnel but won't take effect for several months so drivers can familiarize themselves with the tunnel.

Drivers passing through the new State Route 99 tunnel will not have to worry about tolls until summer 2019. 

The Washington State Transportation Commission approved toll rates back in October 2018. Rates range from $1 to $2.25.

The tunnel's first few months will operate toll-free to give the state a chance to set up the tolling system and give drivers a chance to familiarize themselves with the tunnel. For example, unlike the Alaskan Way Viaduct, drivers will not be able to exit in the middle of downtown in the tunnel. 

Tolling will not begin until the viaduct is torn down, according to Reema Griffith, executive director of the Washington State Transportation Commission. Griffith hopes drivers will be told two to three months before tolling begins.  

Weekday tolls will peak from 7 to 9 a.m. at $1.50 and from 3 to 6 p.m. at $2.25. Weekends will have $1 rates. Toll rates will increase three percent every three years beginning in July 2022.

The tolling rates are for two-axle vehicles with a Good To Go! Pass. Drivers without the pass will be charged an extra $2 per toll. Rates also increase with additional vehicle axles.

SR 99 tunnel toll rates:

  • 12 a.m. – 6 a.m. $1
  • 6 a.m. – 7 a.m. $1.25
  • 7 a.m. – 9 a.m. $1.50
  • 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. $1.25
  • 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. $2.25
  • 6 p.m. – 11 p.m. $1.25
  • 11 p.m. – 12 a.m. $1
  • Weekends $1
  • Three percent increase every three years beginning July 2022

This tolling plan selected by the commission was considered 'Option A' and is designed to pay off the tunnel by 2046. 

WSDOT is collecting tolls to repay the Legislature the $200 million it borrowed to build the tunnel. Tolls will also pay for operational costs.

RELATED: State's $4.4 million advertising budget for Seattle tunnel follows low awareness