Tolling begins Spring 2011 on the SR 520 Bridge

In the spring of 2011, all-electronic tolling will begin on the floating section of  the SR 520 Bridge to help pay for the construction of a new bridge in 2014.  Good To Go! electronic tolling uses technology to keep traffic moving with no toll booths, no stopping, and no slowing down. Tolls will be collected in two ways:  as vehicles drive under an electronic sensor, the toll will be automatically deducted from a prepaid account.  Or, if the driver does not have a prepaid account, a photo will be taken of the vehicle’s license plate, and a bill will be sent to the registered owner in the mail.

The Washington State Department of Transportation has launched a campaign to educate drivers about electronic tolling on the SR 520 Bridge.   You can get ready for all-electronic tolling on the SR 520 Bridge by joining the interest list at www.goodtogo520.org, and be among the first to sign up for a Good to Go! Pass in January 2011.  Subscribers will also receive regular updates about rates, account options, special offers and customer service resources.

Here are a few of the frequently asked questions from the WSDOT website:

Q. Where does tolling start and end on SR 520? A. Electronic tolling equipment will be installed on overhead gantries at the east high-rise of the SR 520 bridge structure. High-tech readers and cameras will charge tolls at normal highway speeds without disrupting traffic. Tolls will be collected in both directions and will vary by time of day. Signage will be posted on both sides of the bridge to alert drivers to the last exit before tolling begins.

Q. How much will tolls cost? A. The toll rates have not yet been determined. Under current state law, the Washington State Transportation Commission sets the toll rates (RCW 47.56). However, toll rates on the 520 corridor will vary by time of day (off-peak tolling). As a means to reduce congestion, peak traffic times will have higher rates and off-peak traffic times will have lower rates.

Q. What is meant by “variable” tolling? A. Toll rates will be lower at off-peak hours and higher at peak-hours. A benefit of variable tolling is it will help improve traffic flow by reducing the number of vehicles using the highway at peak travel times.

Q. What will happen to drivers who don’t pay the toll? A. Drivers who do not have Good To Go! accounts will be able to post-pay their tolls online or by phone. Or, they can wait for the registered vehicle owner to be sent a toll bill in the mail. Those who do not pay the toll bill within 80 days will become violators and will be assessed a fine in addition to the toll.