Last Week, Gov. Jay Inslee cut the ribbon for the I-405 Interchange Direct Connector Grand Opening in front of state, regional and city leaders Tuesday. The interchange opened months ahead of schedule.
“There’s not a single pothole on this road and that’s what good mayors do,” Inslee said as the crowd laughed.
According to Washington State Department of Transportation, the project will significantly decrease delay times for travelers. It will also reduce the number of cars that weave, which makes collisions less likely to happen. The project increases transit and carpool options, which can decrease air pollution and greenhouse-gas emissions.
Leaders such as WSDOT Secretary Roger Miller and former Rep. Judy Clibborn, who was instrumental in the historic bipartisan Connecting Washington package, joined the governor at the event.
Inslee thanked the people who worked on the project in all types of weather conditions. He said the work was completed under budget.
The I-405/SR 167 interchange is one of the most heavily congested interchanges in the state. Today, drivers experience congestion in this area for up to eight hours each day.
Through this project, WSDOT will build a new flyover ramp connecting the HOT lanes on SR 167 to the carpool lanes on I-405 in Renton. This ramp is designed to improve traffic flow and safety at this critical interchange.
Why is WSDOT building this new flyover structure?
Traffic analyses show that this project will significantly decrease the hours of delay travelers experience in this area. The new connection will also reduce weaving at this interchange and on SR 167 and I-405, making collisions less likely.
The End Result
This critical flyover link may ultimately connect 25 miles of express toll lanes on I-405 with 15 miles of HOT lanes on SR 167, resulting in a 40-mile express toll lane system.
Needs & benefits
- Congestion relief and safety: This project will improve traffic flow and decrease the likelihood of collisions by keeping traffic moving within the proposed express toll lane system. This highway-to-highway connection will solve weaving issues associated with drivers exiting the carpool or HOT lanes, merging onto I-405 or SR 167, and merging across traffic again to the HOT toll lanes. The result will be improved operations for both general purpose lanes and carpool or express toll lanes, providing benefits for all travelers, including transit.
- Environment: This project will create better opportunities for drivers to use the SR 167 HOT lanes. Operating express toll lanes results in more reliable speeds and optimal lane performance, thus creating environmental benefits. By improving transit operations, increasing transit and carpool ridership, and improving traffic flow, we can decrease air pollution and greenhouse-gas emissions. This project will also install a noise wall, build storm water management facilities, and upgrade or replace stream crossings at I-405 and SR 167 to promote fish passage.
- Economic stimulus: This project provides better transit access to affordable housing and employment centers. It also improves congestion, expanding freight mobility to the Green River Valley cities’ warehousing and distribution centers. A major construction project like this one can create hundreds of jobs quickly across numerous trades.
- April 2008: WSDOT published the Tukwila to Renton Improvement Project Environmental Assessment (EA).
- July 2008: The Notice of Availability for the Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the Tukwila to Renton Improvement Project was published.
- Winter 2013/14: Complete Environmental Assessment re-evaluation.
- January 2015: Complete preliminary engineering, right-of-way work.
- July 2015: This project was funded by the Connecting Washington transportation package.
- June 2016: Guy F. Atkinson Construction, LLC of Renton submitted the apparent best value proposal of $115.9 million to complete design and construction for the Direct Connector project.
- September 2016: WSDOT held a ceremonial groundbreaking for this project on Sept. 29, 2016. View photos on Flickr.
- February 2019: WSDOT held a ribbon-cutting event for this project on Feb. 19, 2019.
- Overpass open as of February 22, 2019
- Mid-2019: Expected project completion
Financial Data for PIN 140504C, 140504K
Funding Source Amount ($ in thousands)
- 2005 Gas Tax (TPA) – $41,614
- Pre-Existing Funds (PEF) – $346
- CWA – $154,653
- Total – $196,613
The above is a release from Gov. Jay Inslee’s office, and information pulled from the WSDOT website. The Auburn Examiner has not independently verified its contents.