Hwy 167 striping removal aims to relieve commuter access

SEATTLE - The double white line that separates the High Occupancy Toll Lanes nicknamed the "HOT lanes" from all the others along Highway 167 is getting the boot.

"I think it's a good idea. I mean it will be easier for people to get over lanes," driver Vitaly Glibin said.

That's the plan. Later this summer DOT crews will begin work on the notoriously congested Valley Freeway. On an average day, 20,000 drivers use the HOT lanes for both tolled and non-tolled trips.

"We really just want drivers to know that we have listened to them, and we're making these changes in response to things we've heard," Jennifer Charlebois, WSDOT Project Engineer said.

Currently, between Auburn and Renton, drivers can only maneuvar in and out at certain points. The limited access over the years has left commuters and bus drivers frustrated. The change will allow easier access to the HOT Lanes.

"We've also heard from our transit operators that they can save even more time in the HOT lanes if they were able to enter and exit when the general purpose lanes were congested, Charlebois said.

But not everyone is on board.

"I kind of like it the way it is. It's actually a carpool lane that they allow people into. The whole point of having a carpool lane is not having people jumping in and out and slowing things down," Larry Curtis, who drives Highway 167, said.

It's too early to tell if that will be the case. Marlyn Macias sees the change as congestion relief.

"I think it's worth it. I do, I really do because 167 definitely needs more help removing the bottlenecks that really do happen," Macias said.

The construction is scheduled for the evenings of August 10-14. The following week, August 17-21, crews will remove and install signs.