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Peak-use shoulder lane set to open on portion of I-405 in Snohomish County

The new I-405 peak-use shoulder lane between State Route 527 and Interstate 5 is set to open on Monday, April 24th, at 2 P.M. (KOMO Photo)

SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. -- The tough weekday commute on a two-mile stretch of Interstate 405 in Snohomish County should get a little easier starting Monday.

That’s when a new peak-use shoulder lane will open on I-405 northbound between the Canyon Park area and Lynnwood. The lane is scheduled to open at 2 P.M.

Unlike toll lanes, there is no fee to use the I-405 northbound peak-use shoulder lane.

Kyle Egbert sees it everyday.

"(I-405) is a mess," he said.

The weekday congestion on I-405 that can bring traffic to a crawl during the morning and afternoon commutes.

As a driver for Uber, Egbert tries to plan around it as much as possible.

"People I give rides to that are from out of state go, ‘Doesn’t anybody work?’" he said.

"It's awful," added driver Lindsey Prescott.

"It really still needs another lane all the way up to (I-5)," said Chris Brown.

The frustration Brown and so many other drivers say they often experience each weekday could ease a bit this week along a nearly two-mile stretch of I-405 in Snohomish County.

Starting Monday, April 24, the right shoulder between State Route 527 and I-5 in Lynnwood will open to northbound drivers.

The peak-use shoulder lane will generally be open during the afternoon rush hour, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation. But green arrows and red X's on electronic messaging signs will let drivers know if the lane can actually be used.

"I think it’s a Band-Aid on what they shoulda done it right," Brown said.

"I don’t even know what you can do," Prescott added. "There’s just so many more people here now."

Revenue collected from the I-405 tolls helped the project open about a year ahead of schedule, a WSDOT spokesman said.

The new I-405 peak-use shoulder includes 4 pull-outs that can be used in case of emergencies or car breakdowns. If there’s ever a crash, the lane will close to let first responders get by.

"It’s bumper-to-bumper everyday," said Egbert.

Egbert has serious doubts about how much of a difference the new shoulder lane will make.

"I think one little lane for 2 miles is just gonna make it to where people merge out of the lane and then they want to merge right back into it," he said. "And merging is what causes traffic."

Similar projects are being planned for Interstate 90 and one on Interstate 5, a WSDOT spokesman said.

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