Ramp meters from Mercer to I-5 begin Tuesday

SEATTLE – Your commute leaving Seattle is about to get faster – that’s the goal, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation.

WSDOT says it has completed testing on-ramp meters to Interstate 5 from South Lake Union and the devices are scheduled to go live during Tuesday’s peak commute.

The agency insists it needs to meter traffic leaving Mercer Street, joining I-5 to keep backups on the freeway to a minimum.

WSDOT has been testing the ramp meters on the weekends for several weeks and says drivers are still getting used to the changes – but come Tuesday the meters are planned to go live during rush hour.

“The benefits of the ramp meters are really going to come at the beginning and the end of the peak periods, that’s when we’re really going to push the cars through in an organized fashion to get onto I-5,” said WSDOT's Harmony Weinberg.

But those metered on-ramps come from Mercer Street, which is a notorious bottleneck.

The Seattle Department of Transportation says their crews plan to closely monitor the impacts on of the meters on Mercer and will make whatever changes it can to lessen any congestion.