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Toll tips for traveling on Thanksgiving

The Tacoma Narrows Bridge is expected to experience long lines at toll booths as out-of-towners line up to pay. (WSDOT)

We might have the day off for Thanksgiving, but we don’t have a day off from paying tolls.

Washington’s tolled roadways &#8212 the State Route 520 Bridge, Tacoma Narrows Bridge, I-405 express toll lanes and State Route 167 HOT lanes &#8212 have a few unique things happening on Thanksgiving.

Related: The best times to drive on Thanksgiving

WSDOT is advising drivers that it’s not just traffic that hits seasonal highs on Thanksgiving. Tolls are also expected to increase on I-405 and State Route 167. Tolls on those roads are used to regulate congestion. So with higher traffic volumes, chances are, tolls will rise.

Remember, the goal is to keep the I-405 express toll lanes at 45 MPH 90 percent of the time.

While on I-405 on Thanksgiving day, Nov. 26, you’ll only need two people to count as a carpool and get free access to the express lanes between Bellevue and Lynnwood. So set your Flex Pass to HOV mode even if you only have two people in the car. But remember, regular rules apply on Friday.

“Since most folks have the day off work, volumes are lighter in the peak period commute times and don’t require three-plus to manage demand,” a statement from WSDOT reads.

Over on the 520 bridge, weekend toll rates will be in effect on Thanksgiving day &#8212 those rates are a little cheaper. But regular rates return on Friday.

WSDOT also notes that lines are likely to grow at the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. Lots of out-of-towners will be passing through the area. Many won’t have Goood-To-Go passes and will be paying at toll booths. Those lines usually start to back up between 5-10 p.m.

Tips for out-of-towners

Drivers who don’t normally travel tolled routes can get short-term accounts by registering their license plate numbers.

Related: What are the top destinations Washingtonians fly to for Thanksgiving?

Family members can also add other vehicles on their Good-To-Go account by registering their license plate numbers.

People with short-term accounts, or who are on their family members’ accounts, will pay a cheaper toll &#8212 by around 50 cents.


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