SR 520 Bridge Tolling to impact Eastside shopping, commuting routines (poll)

Tolling on the existing Evergreen Point Floating Bridge will begin later this spring to pay for a new SR 520 bridge scheduled to open in 2014. The Good to Go! campaign is in full gear educating commuters on how the new system of tolls will work. Many Eastside venues have been visited by the Good to Go! vans including local libraries and shopping malls such as Kirkland Parkplace.

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Human nature as it is, many people will try to avoid paying tolls across the SR 520 bridge by changing their driving habits. A recent King 5/SurveyUSA poll has shown that among Eastside residents, 55% said they would be more likely to shop on this side of the lake.

We want to know your opinion and we are asking you, "How will tolling on the 520 bridge change your driving habits?" in our poll to the right. Please participate by voting and of course, we encourage you to express your views in the comments section below.

WSDOT estimates a large number of drivers will use a new routes to avoid tolling on SR 520. Traffic on alternate routes such as SR 522 and I-90 will increase. As a result, peak hour speeds will be affected. On SR 520, speeds will increase by 20 mph because many drivers are expected for find alternate routes. Speeds will average 5 mph slower on SR 522 which runs through through Bothell, Kenmore and Lake Forest Park. I-90 drivers can expect to travel 5 to 10 mph slower (see map below).

At this time there no authorization to toll I-90. The State Legislature will decide if/when tolling will be brought to I-90 and will factor in the effects of traffic diversion from SR 520 and the amount of revenue generated.

No Toll Booths

The all-electronic tolling system will not have toll booths. As cars approach the SR 520 bridge from either direction, sensors will detect if the car has a Good to Go! pass. If so, the appropriate toll is automatically deducted from the associated pre-paid account. If a car does not have a Good to Go! pass or if the associated pre-paid account does not have sufficient funds, the owner of the car will be billed the toll plus $1.50. The system will automatically take a photo of the car license plate and mail the registered owner the bill.

Good to Go! accounts will be a needed by most drivers

Even the occasional driver across Lake Washington should consider establishing a Good to Go! pre-paid account. A minimum of $30 is required to open a pre-paid account. The Good to Go! pass which is on your car costs an additional $5.00. Bridge tolls during peak hours will range from $1.50  to $3.50. The penalty for crossing the bridge without the Good to Go! sticker will be an additional $1.50.

Currently, no tolls are to be charged between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m.