NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

Tolling on SR 520’s Evergreen Point Floating Bridge to begin on December 29th

Tolling on the heav­i­ly-trav­eled Ever­green Point Float­ing Bridge, which car­ries State Route 520 across Lake Wash­ing­ton, is final­ly set to begin for real lat­er this month after months of delays, the Wash­ing­ton State Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion announced this morn­ing, mak­ing good on a promise to set a start date.

“Tolling is help­ing Wash­ing­ton move for­ward with crit­i­cal trans­porta­tion invest­ments and will finance ongo­ing and future work to replace the vul­ner­a­ble SR 520 float­ing bridge and cor­ri­dor ‚” said Wash­ing­ton Trans­porta­tion Sec­re­tary Paula Ham­mond in a news release. “SR 520 toll rev­enue will pro­vide $1 bil­lion to fund pon­toon con­struc­tion in Grays Har­bor, and float­ing bridge con­struc­tion and improve­ments on the East­side, which already are under way. Start­ing tolling before the new bridge is built is keep­ing financ­ing costs down.”

Effec­tive 5 AM on Decem­ber 29th, 2011, a toll will be charged to cross from Ever­green Point to Seat­tle’s Mont­lake neigh­bor­hood (or vice ver­sa). Tolls will be vari­able, mean­ing that the rate will depend on when the trip is made. The high­est toll will be charged dur­ing rush hour (7–9 AM in the morn­ing, 3 PM to 6 PM in the evening). Dri­vers with Good to Go! pass­es will pay $1.50 less for each cross­ing, which adds up to con­sid­er­able sav­ings over time.

(If you don’t have a Good to Go! pass, learn more about get­ting one).

Tolls will be col­lect­ed elec­tron­i­cal­ly using cam­eras and scan­ners mount­ed in the bridge’s east truss. The scan­ners will read Good to Go! pass­es and auto­mat­i­cal­ly deduct the cor­rect toll, while the cam­eras will pho­to­graph license plates so the state can send bills to the reg­is­tered own­er of the vehi­cle.

There won’t be any toll booths.

Tolls will be col­lect­ed on the exist­ing bridge for the remain­der of its life, to help pay for the new bridge, which is sup­posed to open in 2014.

The state antic­i­pates that some motorists who cur­rent­ly use SR 520 on a reg­u­lar basis will begin using Inter­state 90 to avoid the toll. That would make I‑90 across Lake Wash­ing­ton more con­gest­ed. But it may lessen rush hour back­ups on SR 520, result­ing in a smoother com­mute for those who choose to pay the bridge toll.

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One Comment

  1. About time. Rid­ers of Metro, Sound Tran­sit, Pierce/Community Tran­sit, etc. have always had to pay fares, whether in the form of cash or a month­ly pass. So have fer­ry users.

    But we’ve been sub­si­diz­ing our road sys­tem to the point where peo­ple have got­ten to think­ing roads are free. They’re not.

    Now, when peo­ple use 520 to get across the lake, they have to pay a fare. Er, toll. That’s very fair and very appro­pri­ate.

    # by Amos Sevon :: December 15th, 2011 at 12:53 PM