Seattle toll roads
Seattle is a fun, cool town with lots to offer. It is famous for its amazing local food and many local attractions, including outdoor activities. It’s the capital of coffee and the origin of grunge music which makes the town a must-see destination for many people, both American and tourists from all over the world. It’s also the home base of big technology and iconic landmarks like Pike Place Market and the Space Needle. Finally, Seattle is believed to have probably the best summer weather in the world. When you’re driving around Seattle, you’ll need to know how to navigate its toll roads and toll bridges.
How many toll roads does Settle have?
In Seattle, tolling is considered a tool for easing congestion and for funding and maintaining relevant transportation projects. Currently, the town has two tolled facilities: SR 520 Bridge (or the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge) and SR 99 tunnel. Let’s find out more about them.
State Road 520 Bridge (Evergreen Point Floating Bridge)
State Road 520 Bridge, also called the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge, is located on Washington State Route 520. The toll road connects Seattle and the suburb of Bellevue (the eastern region of King County), and it is 1.5 miles long. The bridge was opened in 2016. It was named for Albert Rosellini (the official name of the bridge is The SR 520 Albert Rosellini Evergreen Point Floating Bridge). Once opened, the bridge replaced another bridge of the same name at the site. The previous one was designed before modern earthquake engineering standards were implemented. Therefore, after it was impacted by storm surges and strong winds, the bridge was closed to traffic. The new bridge is taller, wider, and sturdier. It has become a key component of the ongoing State Route 520 Bridge Replacement. It has made relevant improvements between Interstate 5 in Seattle and Interstate 405 in Bellevue. It is now owned and maintained by the Washington State Department of Transportation. Approximately 74,000 motorists use the bridge every day, providing two general-purpose lanes and one transit lane in each direction.
There are no toll booths on this road – this is an entirely electronic tolling facility. The cost of using the toll road varies depending on when you use it and how many axles your vehicle has. It ranges from $3.25 to $6.30 for cars and between $4.90 and $18.90 for trucks.
State Route 99 Tunnel
SR 99 Tunnel, also called the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement tunnel, is located on the SR 99 highway. The route enters the tunnel after passing Royal Brougham Way and an interchange with Alaskan Way at South Dearborn Street. It runs underneath downtown Seattle and connects SoDo to South Lake Union in the northern part of the city. It is 1.8 miles long (approximately 3 km). The tunnel was opened in February 2019 and is now maintained by the Washington State Department of Transportation. It has four lanes that allow drivers to reach the maximum speed of 45 mph. State Route 99 Tunnel is a single tube. It is 52 feet (16 m) wide, carrying a double-decker highway that is almost 32 feet wide, and has two lines in each direction. There are utility lines and mechanical spaces for lighting, fire suppression, and ventilation systems right below the highway decks. The tunnel functions as a complete bypass of Downtown Seattle with no intermediate exits and mid-tunnel entrances.
It is a tolled facility. The rates change on a fixed schedule, depending on the time of the day. You can expect to pay between $1.15 and $2.60 if you have a ‘Good to Go!’ pass. If you don’t, you will pay between $3.15 and $4.60. If your vehicle has more than two axles, expect to pay between $1.75 and $13.80. Tolls are collected electronically.
How to pay tolls in Seattle
Both Seattle toll roads (SR 520 Bridge and SR 99 Tunnel) are equipped with electronic payments. This means it is impossible to pay cash at a toll booth. Toll rates change depending on the time of day (traveling on nights, holidays, and weekends is cheaper). When it comes to SR 520 Bridge, you have two options:
You can use a Good to Go! account. Together with the account, you get a pass that should be installed in your vehicle.
If you don’t have an account, a picture of your license plate will be taken when you enter the bridge. A bill will be then sent to the address on your vehicle registration with the Department of Licensing.
Tolls are collected for both directions of the bridge.
When it comes to SR 99 Tunnel, you have the same two options. You can either use your Good to Go! account or, if you don’t have one, pay by mail. The Pay by Mail option is a bit more expensive than the Good to Go! pass ($2 higher). Like with SR 520 Bridge, toll rates on SR 99 Tunnel are collected in both directions as you exit the tunnel. There are many 24 toll signs at key points on the north and south ends so it is impossible that you don’t know that the tunnel is tolled before entering it.