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520 tolling to begin in 3 weeks

Bellamy Pailthorp
Tolling rates for the 520 bridge. You can save money by registering with the state's Good to Go system. Drivers without transponders will pay the highest rates.

Tolling on the 520 Bridge will start at 5 am on December 29th.

That’s the word from the state Department of Transportation, after multiple glitches that have delayed the system till now.

Deputy Transportation Secretary Dave Dye didn’t mince words at a news conference. He spoke directly to the group that will use the bridge and the newly installed “Good to Go” tolling system the most.

“520 commuters, this is your call to action. If you have a Good to Go Pass, but haven’t activated it yet, or you haven’t installed it yet on your vehicle, now is a really good time to do that.”

Now is the time to get Good to Go passes working

A pass sitting on the dresser, not activated, "is not gonna do you any good" when you go across the bridge on the 29th, he pointed out. There’s a surcharge of $1.50 each way if you drive through without the pass, which is easy to get.

“You can call our customer service center, visit one of our walk-in centers, like the building behind us here, or you can go to the web site,” Dye said.

He was speaking in front of the walk-in center in the U-District, at 50th and Roosevelt. There are two other locations for that, in Bellevue and Gig Harbor.

There are exemptions from tolls for some groups – including registered van pools and emergency vehicles responding to a call. Motorcycles and carpools are not exempt.

Rates set to reduce traffic congestion

Tolls on the bridge will vary…ranging from $1.10 to $3.70 . Overnights after 11 are free.

  • The highest charge is $3.70, at the most expensive peak time.
  • The lowest is on weekends and holidays – starting at a dollar ten ($1.10.)
  • It will be free to cross 520 at night, from 11pm till 5am.

The tolls are expected to raise a billion dollars towards the nearly $5-billion-dollar cost of a new floating bridge across Lake Washington, which is badly needed and is scheduled to open three years from now, in 2014.

The old one, which was completed in 1963, is vulnerable to damage from earthquakes and storms.

Bellamy Pailthorp covers the environment beat for KNKX, where she has worked since 1999. From 2000-2012, she covered the business and labor beat. Bellamy has a deep interest in Indigenous affairs and the Salish Sea. She has a masters in journalism from Columbia University.
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