WSDOT might look to shoulder driving to help I-405 move

Acknowledging that express toll lanes on I-405 have worsened traffic on the north end of the corridor, a state transportation official Thursday said a solution might be to widen the roadway enough to allow shoulder driving.

Patty Rubstello, who directs the toll division for the Washington State Department of Transportation, said shoulder driving during heavy traffic in the northbound lanes between State Route 522 and I-5 in Lynnwood could speed the commute in the general purpose lanes, where congestion has increased.

"We recognize we are seeing extra congestion northbound in the Bothell area and we want to see some solutions that could help relieve some of that," Rubstello told KIRO 7.

The north section of I-405 has fewer lanes than farther south on the corridor, and Rubstello suggested the department might change its focus for the next phase of expanding 405 from south of Bellevue, as had been planned, to the north end near Bothell.

Adding shoulder driving is more complicated than it sounds, and Rubstello said an expansion project would require sound proofing and stream work, which could push the cost into the tens of millions of dollars.

Rubstello said an analysis to come up with a detailed cost estimate could begin this year.