SR 167 HOT Lanes - Why HOT lanes?

Before HOT lanes, the HOV lanes on SR 167 were underused even though the general purpose lanes were congested much of the day. The goal of the SR 167 HOT lanes pilot project is to help reduce traffic congestion across all lanes by carrying more cars at faster speeds in the HOT lanes. HOT lanes are free for carpoolers, and give solo drivers the option to pay a toll for a more reliable trip.

How do HOT lanes help improve regular lane speeds?

As some solo drivers choose to drive the HOT lane, this frees up space in the general purpose lanes and improves traffic flow.

What's the difference between HOT lanes and bridge tolls?

Unlike bridge tolls, SR 167 HOT lanes are optional. Drivers who don’t want to pay a toll can still use the regular lanes for free.

SR 520 and Tacoma Narrows bridge tolls go toward paying for bridge construction. SR 167 HOT lanes help manage traffic on the corridor.

Why HOT lanes?

In 2003 the Washington State Transportation Commission adopted a resolution directing WSDOT to evaluate the feasibility and potential benefit of converting one or more HOV lanes to a HOT lane. SR 167 was selected for several key reasons: it is congested during peak periods, it had available space in the HOV lane, and the roadway could accommodate the HOT lane design.

In 2005 the Washington State Legislature authorized the conversion of SR 167’s HOV lanes to HOT lanes. A Social, Economic and Environmental Justice Report (pdf 1 mb)  was completed in 2007, and the project began construction later that year. The pilot was originally approved as a four-year test, but continues to be extended by the Legislature.

How have the HOT lanes changed since opening?

During the first six years of the HOT lanes, most of the length was striped with double white lines, which are illegal to cross. Drivers could only enter and exit the lanes at locations of single, dashed lines – like on the I-405 express toll lanes. In 2014 WSDOT changed this access on SR 167 to allow drivers to enter and exit almost anywhere along the length of the HOT lanes over a single solid line.

The HOT lanes worked so well that WSDOT received funding to extend the southbound HOT lane six more miles in 2016, from its previous end in Auburn to its current end in Pacific.

How are the HOT lanes performing?

Take a look at the most recent data in our Annual Report on the Tolling Division Reports and Resources page.