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June 14, 2016
Every day, commuters face up to eight hours of congestion at the interchange of Interstate 405 and state Route 167 in Renton.
The state is moving forward with a plan to unclog that jam with a flyover ramp linking the freeway and the highway. The Department of Transportation expects to award a $115.9 million contract later this month to Guy F. Atkinson Construction to complete the design and build the project, which is called the Direct Connector.
Atkinson's Renton office recently submitted the apparent best value proposal for the project. Atkinson competed against two other shortlisted firms: Parsons/Kuney Joint Venture and Kiewit Infrastructure West Co.
The flyover ramp will link the northbound Route 167 HOT lane with the northbound I-405 carpool lane, and the southbound I-405 carpool lane with the southbound Route 167 HOT lane. Crews will also rebuild local streets, install a noise wall, build stormwater facilities, and upgrade or replace stream crossings.
Today drivers in the left carpool or HOT lane must merge across traffic to exit, then merge back across to continue their trip.
Construction will start in late summer, and the new ramp is expected to open by mid-2019.
WSDOT says this will be the first project in the Seattle area funded by the $16 billion Connecting Washington gas tax package that was passed last summer.
The Direct Connector is one piece of a 40-mile corridor of express toll lanes under construction between Lynnwood and a point south of the King/Pierce county border. Parts of the corridor are finished and by 2024 the whole system should be operating, except for the southernmost section of northbound Route 167 that is unfunded.
WSDOT doesn't have an estimate on when the last segment will open.