SR 99 Tolling

SR 99 Tunnel Project

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SR 99 Tunnel Tolling

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This page gives the basics about how tolling will work in the State Route 99 tunnel.


When will the tunnel open?

We have not announced a specific date when the tunnel will open. Based on the tunnel contractors’ current schedules, the SR 99 tunnel could open to drivers as soon as fall 2018. Our goal is to safely open the tunnel to drivers as quickly as possible, but it’s too early to accurately predict a tunnel opening date.

What is the tunnel route and how many lanes will it have?

The tunnel carries SR 99 beneath downtown Seattle. The south portal is just west of CenturyLink field, while the north portal sits between Seattle Center and South Lake Union, just south of Mercer Street. The tunnel will carry two lanes of SR 99 in each direction, with wider shoulders than those that currently exist on the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

When will tolling begin?

The tunnel will initially be free to use when it opens, as it has not yet been determined when SR 99 tolling will start. We are considering a variety of factors in choosing a date for tolling to start, including the testing of the tolling equipment and systems, the timing for demolition of the current Alaskan Way Viaduct, and other local construction projects.

Why will there be tolls for the SR 99 tunnel?

The Legislature has directed WSDOT to collect tolls in the SR 99 tunnel in order to repay $200 million in construction bonds borrowed to build the tunnel and to fund the ongoing cost of operating and maintaining a safe facility. This funding is part of the $3.2 billion investment to replace the aging Alaskan Way Viaduct and rebuild SR 99 through Seattle.

How will toll rates be set?

The Washington State Transportation Commission is responsible for setting toll rates and is in the process of analyzing potential toll rates. Their goal is to find toll rates which minimize diversion onto other roads but still generates the funding required by state law.

The Transportation Commission is currently considering three possible toll rate options for the SR 99 tunnel. Learn more about the options being considered and how to submit a public comment.

How will tolls be collected?

Tolls in the SR 99 tunnel will be collected electronically, just like on all other toll roads in Washington. Drivers travelling in either direction will be charged as they exit the tunnel and will not need to slow down or stop at a toll booth. Overhead signs on SR 99 will alert drivers that they are approaching a tolled tunnel.

How will drivers pay tolls?

Drivers with a Good To Go! account and pass will pay the lowest toll rates while using the SR 99 tunnel.

If you already have a Good To Go! account and pass, then you will not need to do anything else to use the SR 99 tunnel. Every kind of existing Good To Go! pass will work to pay a toll.

Drivers without a Good To Go! account can use the tunnel and will pay a higher toll rate.

Will tolls change based on time of day?

Toll rates will be based on time of day, similar to tolls on the SR 520 Bridge. Tolls will not change to account for real-time traffic conditions like they do on the I-405 express toll lanes.

What will be the last exit before a toll is charged?

Drivers who pass through the tunnel will pay a toll. Signs before both tunnel portals (jpg 264 kb) will alert drivers to the approaching tolled-tunnel. At the tunnel’s north end, the final SR 99 off-ramp before the tunnel is at Aurora Avenue and Harrison Street. Approaching from the south, the final northbound off-ramp is at South Dearborn Street.

How will tolls affect Seattle traffic?

Replacing the viaduct will change how people get around Seattle regardless of tolls. The SR 99 tunnel has different entrances and exits than the viaduct. Some trips you take today will be shorter, while other trips will be a little longer.

Picture shows map of the existing Alaskan Way Viaduct and the new SR 99 Tunnel. The photo shows the differences in access points in the new tunnel when compared to the viaduct.