- Written by Meagan Lott, WSDOT
CLE ELUM – The eastbound lanes of Interstate 90 will close to traffic near Cle Elum two nights next week.
The contractor working for the Washington State Department of Transportation is replacing the bridge decks near Cle Elum. In order to do this work, the eastbound lanes will close to traffic from 9 p.m. to 8 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 7 and Wednesday, Aug. 8. Drivers will be detoured around the closure via State Route 970 and US 97 and should plan for about 30 minutes of added travel time.
Drivers will also experience lane closures in both directions during the day next week Monday through Friday due to bridge work near Cle Elum at milepost 86 and near Ellensburg at milepost 102.
WSDOT provides a variety of tools to help plan your trip over Snoqualmie Pass:
- Sign up for email updates and text message alerts.
- Snoqualmie Mountain Pass Web page for real-time travel information and to view traffic cameras.
- Check the weekly Construction Updates and Traffic pages for region-wide updates.
- Tune into the Highway Advisory Radio at 1610 AM and 530 AM.
- Follow us on Twitter @snoqualmiepass.
- Call the I-90 construction hotline at 888-535-0738 or 511.
- Written by Paul Parker, WSTC Deputy Director
OLYMPIA – Here’s your chance to have a say in the framework that ensures transportation plans and investments for local streets and roadways, state highways, transit, ferries, sidewalks, bike lanes, air, barge, and rail all work together to keep people and freight moving safely and efficiently.
The public is invited to review and comment on the draft Washington Transportation Plan – 2040 and Beyond, just released by the Washington State Transportation Commission.
Transportation Commission Chair Jerry Litt said a regular refresh of the plan is a chance to take stock of what has changed since it was last updated in January 2015. “The pace of change, especially in transportation technologies, is picking up. It’s important to regularly look at emerging issues to be sure we’re on the right track.”
Emerging technology is one of three big uncertainties the commission highlights in WTP 2040 and Beyond. The other two are: system resiliency in light of extreme weather events and natural disasters like earthquakes, and how to pay for transportation. “We’re dealing with some big issues that are going to affect all of us in some way,” Litt added. “Transportation affects every aspect of our daily lives. There are some hard choices in front of us and we need to make smart, informed decisions.”
The commission reached out to a broad group of organizations for input in developing the draft plan. The 27 members of the WTP Advisory Group include regional planning organizations, state agencies, tribal and transit representatives, business and port associations, city and county associations, transportation and planning advocates and others.
“We relied on insights from advisory group members to help us understand transportation issues from the perspectives of their many different constituents,” noted Commissioner Hester Serebrin. “We will strive to ensure that underrepresented communities have a voice at the table in order to develop a plan that supports transportation all across Washington.”
Commission staff are holding meetings around the state to share the draft WTP 2040 and Beyond plan. A list of meeting dates and locations is on the project website.
Commissioner Debbie Young encouraged people to learn more about the plan and provide input. “This plan will shape how we think about transportation problems and solutions, from rural Washington to our biggest cities. Input now will help make sure we hear everyone’s perspective.”
The Commission must adopt an updated plan and present it to the State Legislature and Governor Inslee by January 2019
- Written by Jeff Adamson, WSDOT
US 97 Blewett Pass will be closed in both directions to ALL traffic from 9 PM Sunday, September 9th to 9 AM on Friday, September 14th to replace 3 culverts under the highway between MP 157.6 and MP 169.0.
Two box culverts will be installed about 1.5 miles and 4.5 miles north of the summit. As part of a separate contract, a third box culvert will be installed near the Swauk Creek campground.
The culvert replacements will all be done at the same time to minimize impacts to traffic and recreation. In addition to the full closure, the two projects may require intermittent weekday single lane closures throughout the month of September.
The current Mill culvert on Swauk Creek is a barrier to salmon and resident trout due to its size and orientation. The culverts on the north side of Blewett Pass need to be replaced because they are undersized and have a history of plugging with debris during storms, leading to washouts along the highway.
• Southern limit: MP 157.60, Between Mineral Springs and USFS #9714 – Iron Creek Rd
o 8 miles north of US 97/SR 970 junction (Lauderdale Junction), 5 miles north of Liberty.
• Northern limit: MP 169.00, Just below Five Mile Creek Rd.
o 5 miles north of Blewett Pass Summit, 9 miles south of Ingalls Creek Rd, 16 miles south of US 97/US 2 interchange (“Big Y”).
• Forest Service roads that have outlets within the work area will be barricaded at:
o USFS 7320 – Old Blewett Rd at Swauk Meadow (MP 159.23)
o USFS 9711 – Hurley Creek Rd at Swauk Meadow (MP 159.27)
o USFS 7324 – Wenatchee Crest Trail at Summit trailhead (MP 163.92)
o USFS 9716 – Swauk Discovery Trail at Summit trailhead (MP 163.89)
For more information & updates go to https://www.wsdot.wa.gov/projects/us97/blewett-pass/home
- Written by Reema Griffith, WSTC executive director
OLYMPIA – Gov. Jay Inslee recently appointed James (Jim) A. Restucci, Sunnyside, to fill an open seat on the seven-member Washington State Transportation Commission. The appointment is for a six-year term ending June 30, 2024.
Restucci is vice president, chief technology officer, and co-founder of Axcess Internet Services, Inc., a company providing internet services and managed information technology solutions since 2002.
“I am honored by the governor’s trust,” said Restucci. “I look forward to working with my colleagues on the commission, WSTC staff, members of the state legislature, and city and county local appointed and elected officials, as well as citizens at large to provide a transportation plan that addresses the needs of all Washingtonians now and into the future.”
A member of the Sunnyside City Council since 2004, Restucci served as mayor of Sunnyside from 2010 to 2018, and was president of the Association of Washington Cities from 2016 to 2017.
While active in many community groups and organizations in the Yakima Valley, Restucci is focused on improving transportation in his community. Since 2010, he has served as chairman of the Yakima Valley Conference of Governments, which serves as the Metropolitan Planning Organization and Regional Transportation Planning Organization for Yakima County. He has also served as a board member and president of “People for People,” a nonprofit organization that includes employment and training services, special needs transportation, and transportation for Medicaid services, in communities across eastern Washington. From 2012 to 2018, Restucci served on the National Association of Regional Councils Board of Directors, representing the regional and transportation interests of Councils of Government in Washington and Oregon on the national stage.
Restucci served in the U.S. Army from 1984 to 1995, and in the Washington Army National Guard from 1995 to 2004. He is a recipient of the Washington State Guardsman's Medal. He also is a lifetime member of the Sunnyside Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #3482 and served as Senior Vice-Commander, Post Judge Advocate and Post surgeon. Restucci is a member of the AMVETS Post #73 and the American Legion Post #3733.
Restucci is married to DeLeesa Restucci and has two sons, Dylan and Alex.
The transportation commission is a seven-member body appointed by the governor and charged with setting toll rates, ferry fares, authoring the state’s 20-year transportation plan, and advising the governor and legislature on transportation policy and fiscal matters. For more information about the commission, visit: http://www.wstc.wa.gov/
- Written by Meagan Lott, WSDOT
LEAVENWORTH - US Highway 2 from Leavenworth west to the SR 207 junction at Coles Corner will be closed to traffic on Wednesday, July 25 from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. for culvert repair.
The Washington State Department of Transportation is removing and replacing a culvert under the roadway, which will also require the removal of pavement and excavation across both lanes. This work is to prevent future shoulder washouts during high runoff, which occurs more often after a mudslide changed the drainage patterns on the hillside in Tumwater Canyon.
The closure will detour traffic to Chumstick Highway between SR 207 and Leavenworth. Vehicles over 10,000 GVW or longer than 32 feet will not be allowed on the detour and will need to use US 97 over Blewett Pass or I-90 over Snoqualmie Pass. Local deliveries will be allowed west of Plain.
- Written by Lars Erickson, Communications Director, WSDOT
Work zone safety affects every one of us and we continue to see crashes and near misses that put our workers and everyone else on the roadway in danger. Just a few weeks ago, a semi failed to notice flashing signs about a work zone in Eastern Washington and crashed into the back of one of our vehicles leaving the safety equipment a mangled mess – luckily no workers were seriously injured. Late last week we had two work zone incidents on the same project on the same day in Southwest Washington. These are just a couple of many examples I could share.
WSDOT has been sharing work zone safety messages for many years, This year we’ve partnered with the Washington Asphalt Pavement Association and the Association of General Contractors to reach a broader audience. As part of that effort, we’ve created a video to show just how quickly a moment’s inattention or distraction can have disastrous results. The video, featuring several of our own maintenance workers, is a scenario our workers and contractors see on a regular basis: https://youtu.be/H8SXTngGpZY. We’ve also shared the video on our social media channels – Twitter and Facebook.
We’ve coordinated the release of the video with one of our largest construction related closures of the summer – “Revive I-5” – last week so that drivers understand how important work zones are for the safety of our workers and how impactful their driving decisions can be to themselves and all of our employees.
We’re asking all drivers to follow these four guidelines when they’re near a work zone:
- Slow Down – drive the posted speeds, they’re there for your safety
- Be Kind – the workers are helping to improve the roadway for all drivers
- Pay Attention – to workers directing you and surrounding traffic; do not use phones or other devices while driving
- Stay Calm – expect delays, leave early and take alternate routes if possible; no meeting or appointment is work risking lives
- Written by Christina Crea, WSDOT Aviation Communications
Phase 1 and 2 of rehabilitation project completed on time
WINTHROP – Methow Valley State Airport has a brand new runway after a 45-day temporary closure to rehabilitate the 22-year-old pavement. On May 14, Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) Aviation began the four Phased $5 million project to replace the pavement and maintain this crucial infrastructure.
Methow Valley State Airport in Winthrop is the largest of 16 WSDOT-managed airports, serving aircraft weighing up to 30,000 pounds.
Phase 1 and Phase 2 were completed on time (within the first 45 days).The runway opens in time to avoid interfering with the expected fire season operations of the United States Forest Service (USFS), conducted by North Cascades Smokejumper Base (NCSB).
Although the runway is scheduled to be open for public use by 8 p.m. on July 3, the west side taxiway connector and transient parking ramp will remain closed into August in order to complete Phase 3 for additional sub-grade and pavement overlay upgrades. Phase 3 is scheduled to be complete in August.
Limited space is being made available for transient (visiting) aircraft with prior permission in the Rams Head hangar development on the east side of the airport. Pilots are advised to check NOTAM’s and contact the airport manager for prior permission to access limited parking.
Wenatchee general contractor, Selland Construction, worked on Phases 1-2 and continues to complete Phase 3 of the project. Phase 4 to expand the west general aviation aircraft parking apron to the south was rebid in June. Timing of construction is unknown at this time.
Construction costs are split between the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Airport Improvement Program (AIP) and WSDOT Aviation. The FAA is supporting 90 percent and WSDOT Aviation is supporting 10 percent of the total cost.
- Written by Joe Irwin, Strategic Assessment and Performance Analysis, WSDOT
Gray Notebook also tracks social media reach, environmental efforts
OLYMPIA – A retirement tsunami is on its way, and when the “gray wave” hits the Washington State Department of Transportation in the next few years it stands to take away hundreds of current employees.
Up to 42 percent of the agency’s workforce may retire by the year 2022, based on the number of employees who will be eligible for partial or full benefits by that year. Of these, 20 percent will be eligible for full retirement by 2022 and are considered probable to retire. Both outlooks highlight the need for increased outreach to potential employees to ensure the agency is staffed to meet the needs of the traveling public, according analyses in WSDOT’s latest quarterly performance report, the Gray Notebook.
The publication, which summarizes the quarter that ended March 31, also includes annual articles on active transportation, travel information and wetlands-protection efforts. Highlights include:
- People walking or bicycling accounted for 22 percent of all statewide traffic fatalities in 2017.
- The number of @wsdot_traffic Twitter followers increased 37.5 percent from about 330,000 to more than 452,000 between in April 2017 and March 2018.
- WSDOT added six new wetlands- and stream-mitigation sites on 33 acres in 2017 to help off-set construction work that affected the environment.
To learn more about WSDOT’s performance or to review “Gray Notebook 69” or its condensed “Lite” version, visit WSDOT’s Accountability website.
- Written by Barbara LaBoe, WSDOT
OLYMPIA – It’s not technically summer yet, but Memorial Day weekend, May 25-28, often brings summer-level traffic to state roadways. That’s why it’s important to have a holiday travel plan before heading out the door.
By following these steps, travelers can get where they’re going with fewer headaches:
- Check the Washington State Department of Transportation's best times to travel charts to help plan your trip and avoid congestion.
- Get informed about WSDOT's online tools, including the WSDOT mobile app, traffic cameras and email alerts.
- Visit online traveler informationfor traffic, weather and ferry schedules.
- Follow WSDOT's social media accounts, such as Twitterand Facebook.
- Pre-program your vehicle radio to 530 AM and 1610 AM for highway advisory radio alerts.
- Call 5-1-1 for updated road conditions.
- Allow extra time for travel during the holidays to avoid rushing or distraction.
Most state highway construction work is suspended through the holiday weekend – including Monday, May 28 – to ease congestion. However, please stay alert for new lane shifts or work zone staging areas that may be remain in place.
No lane closures or other construction is planned from Friday, May 25, to Tuesday, May 29, however the usual holiday increase in traffic volumes means travelers should expect delays, especially eastbound on Friday, May 25, and westbound Monday, May 28. Receive text message alerts about significant delays by texting the number 468311 with the words "WSDOT Snoqualmie"
Chinook and Cayuse passes
In the mountains, spring snow and a construction project in Mount Rainier National Park mean Chinook and Cayuse passes will not reopen by the holiday weekend this year. The passes are scheduled to open June 11. Chinook Pass, State Route 410, is closed between Crystal Mountain Boulevard, about 12 miles northwest of the summit, and Morse Creek, five miles east of the summit. SR 123 over Cayuse Pass is closed between Crystal Mountain Boulevard and the Stevens Canyon Road entrance. Both these passes close each winter due to weather and hazardous conditions.
In the Puget Sound, weekend toll rates will be in effect on Monday, May 28, on the State Route 520 bridge. The Interstate 405 express toll lanes will be free and open to all drivers on the Monday holiday. Out-of-town travelers, including those using rental cars, can learn about toll roads and short term account options on the Good to Go! visitors page.
Travelers making a trip by ferry, train, personal aircraft or bus also should plan ahead to avoid holiday delays:
- Anticipate heavy ferry traffic for the holiday and plan accordingly. Peak travel times on most routes are expected to be westbound Thursday and Friday, May 24-25, and eastbound, Monday, May 28. Check the Washington State Ferries website, www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries/, or call toll-free 888-808-7977 for details, including reservations on some routes. Customers also can bypass vehicle lines by traveling as a walk-on passenger.
- Amtrak Cascades passengers are encouraged to purchase tickets early and should plan to arrive at the station one hour before departure. All Amtrak Cascades trains require reservations. Visit www.amtrakcascades.com/or call 800–USA–RAIL for details.
- For information about traveling via state-operated airports, visit www.wsdot.wa.gov/aviation/airports/Amenities.htmor call 800-552-0666.
- Check with local public transit agenciesfor any holiday schedule or service changes, including some Dial-A-Ride and fixed-route service that may not run on holidays
- Written by Meagan Lott, WSDOT
Drivers will also experience delays through multiple work zones
HYAK – Rock blasting is scheduled to close Interstate 90 east of Snoqualmie Pass for about an hour Monday through Wednesday next week.
The contractor working for the Washington State Department of Transportation will close I-90 at 7 p.m. for about an hour each night Monday, May 21, Tuesday, May 22 and Wednesday, May 23. During rock blasting closures eastbound drivers will be stopped at milepost 56 near Gold Creek and westbound drivers will be stopped at milepost 61 near the Price Creek area.
Drivers will also experience delays Monday, May 21 through Thursday, May 24 during the day and at night through multiple work zones between North Bend and Ellensburg. Drivers are encouraged to check our What’s Happening on I-90 Webpage for specific daily impacts and locations.
WSDOT provides a variety of tools to help plan your trip over Snoqualmie Pass this summer:
- Visit the What’s Happening on I-90 Webpage for weekly travel information
- Download WSDOT’s free smartphone app to check statewide pass conditions
- Receive text message alerts about closures and delays by texting the number 468311 with the words "WSDOT Snoqualmie"
- Tune into the Highway Advisory Radio at 1610 AM and 530 AM
- Call 5-1-1 from your hands-free device
- Sign up for email updates
- Follow us on Twitter @SnoqualmiePass