Here it comes – better access for SR 167 HOT lanes

By Laura Johnson

We’ll be returning the SR 167 HOT lanes to the
original single line striping
Current SR 167 HOT lanes with the double line striping
The HOT lanes have been around for six years – can you believe it? If you haven’t used them, you’ve likely driven by them. One thing that makes people hesitate to use them is that you can only get in and out of the lanes at the sections with dashed lines. This raises questions like: What if I can’t get out when I need to? What if I miss my exit? With my sense of direction, who knows where I’d end up? Well, with some new changes, you might just think about trying them soon.

The most frequent feedback we’ve heard about the HOT lanes is that people don’t like the limited access. We’re listening to this feedback, and starting the night of July 28, crews will be out grinding off the inside stripe of the double white line – the line that keeps you from getting in and out of the HOT lane at any old spot you want. They’ll be painting over the dashed lines, and the end result will be a single white stripe between the regular lanes and the HOT lane. So like an HOV lane, you can enter and exit wherever you want. When you’ve got a safe gap in traffic, of course.

They’ll still be HOT lanes – people who drive alone will still have to pay the toll, and carpools, vanpools, buses and motorcycles will still be able to use the lanes for free. This will just make it easier to get in and out of the lane.

I’ve heard some people are concerned about the safety of this change. But as I mentioned, the access will be just like an HOV lane, and we have those all over the place with no major problems. We’ll be testing how the new access works in a study that goes along with this project. It’s actually pretty cool because the Federal Highway Administration gave us money to implement and study this, and our study could affect HOT lanes around the country.

When the striping work begins, you’ll be able to read about it on our construction updates website.  So watch out for nighttime lane closures and work on SR 167 between Renton and Auburn for the next month or so. And watch for those single white stripes to appear – freedom!