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Open house on potential I-405 toll lanes tonight in Kirkland

Express toll lanes are being considered as a way to reduce congestion on I-405 between Bellevue and Lynnwood. To learn more about this and other plans to improve 17 miles of I-405, the public is invited to a project open house from 4-7 p.m. Feb. 17 in the Peter Kirk Room at Kirkland City Hall, 123 Fifth Ave., Kirkland.

Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) engineers and staff will be available to provide details and answer questions about the project and share preliminary findings from an environmental analysis. There will be no formal presentations, so feel free to arrive at any time.

Project plans include: a new northbound lane between N.E. 124th St. and SR 522; new northbound braided ramps between the N.E. 160th St. on-ramp and the SR 522 off-ramp; two southbound transit shoulders; and a potential express toll lane system from Bellevue to Lynnwood.

Express toll lanes give solo drivers the option to use carpool lanes by paying an electronic toll to avoid congestion. Similar to the SR 167 high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes between Auburn and Renton, express toll lanes help reduce overall congestion while generating revenue for future corridor improvements. Toll rates automatically adjust to ensure traffic in the toll lane is free flowing even when the general-purpose lanes are congested.

The $334 million Bellevue to Lynnwood project builds upon the Kirkland Nickel stage 1 project. Construction is expected to begin in early 2012.

For those unable to attend the open house, contact and project information are available at the website www.wsdot.wa.gov/projects/i405/.

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