Tolling on the 520 bridge is mere hours away, and the Washington State Department of Transportation says it expects the morning commute to be quite different in the coming months.
It will take time for sustained traffic patterns to emerge, the transit agency wrote earlier this week in a blog post, but several months after tolling begins WSDOT said it anticipates westbound speeds on 520 will be approximately 20 mph faster during the morning rush hour. Morning westbound commutes on I-90 will be 5 to 10 mph slower, while traffic on SR 522 will be 5 mph slower, WSDOT said.
All of these predicted rates reflect traffic patterns several months down the road. In the meantime, WSDOT has said it expects traffic to be even lighter on 520.
This week will see especially few bridge commuters because many people are not working between Christmas and New Year's, Craig Stone, director of WSDOT's tolling division, told The Seattle Times.
"520 will be wide open tomorrow," Stone told the Times on Wednesday.
Tolling rates will vary based on the time of day, with peak travel times costing drivers $3.50 each way. WSDOT has in advance of tolling.
The eastbound section of the bridge as WSDOT crews finish installing tolling signs.