Highway 520 tolls: Tuesday commute a real test
Monday, January 2, 2012
SEATTLE (AP) -- Washington transportation officials say the Tuesday commute will be the first true test of the effect of new tolls on the Highway 520 floating bridge linking Seattle and its eastside suburbs.
Tolling on the bridge across Lake Washington started last Thursday but traffic was lighter than normal during the holiday week.
Transportation Department tolling director Craig Stone says commuters on all routes around the lake "should expect the unexpected" and allow more time. In the initial days, some commuters switched to the toll-free Interstate 90 floating bridge while others drove around the north end of the lake. Stone says it may take months for traffic patterns to "settle into a new normal."
Tolling on 520 is expected to raise $1 billion overall toward the $4.65 billion cost of replacing the existing bridge and making other improvements. The existing bridge opened in 1963.