Panel considers 3-person rule for HOV lanes on I-405

BELLEVUE. Wash. - Big changes are coming to Interstate 405 - you may soon need three people in your car to use the HOV lanes.

Transportation officials say changes are necessary because the freeway is becoming increasingly congested during the morning and evening commutes.

And now a study reveals that the two-person HOV lane requirement in use now would not be effective into the future.

An advisory committee is meeting Thursday afternoon to study three new possible options along I-405:

Three-person carpools ride for free

Three-person carpools ride for free at peak times, two-person carpools ride for free at off-peak times

All carpools receive a discount

The meeting will take place from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7, at the Renton Community Center, 1715 SE Maple Valley Highway.

The public is welcome to attend and provide comments.

All options are under discussion at this point. At lease two more meetings are scheduled before the state makes a final decision.

The advisory group plans to present their recommendations at a Nov. 20 meeting of the Washington State Transportation Commission in Kirkland. The Commission will ultimately set toll exemptions and rates through a public process scheduled to continue into spring 2014.