Interstate 90 express lane schedule changes

September 11, 2012

Motorists should notice a slight adjustment to the Interstate 90 express lane schedule.

Starting Sept. 5, the state Department of Transportation opened the I-90 express lanes to westbound traffic at 6 a.m. Crews used to open the lanes at 1 a.m., back when the process required separate crews to switch both the Interstate 5 and I-90 express lanes.

Now, the I-5 system is automated, so a single crew needs less time to switch both.

Under the revised schedule, I-90 express lanes open to westbound traffic from 6 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. weekdays. The lanes open to eastbound travel from 2 p.m. to 5 a.m.

On weekends, I-90 express lanes open to eastbound traffic from 2 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. the following Monday.

Schedule changes for Interstate 90 express lanes

September 2, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. Sept. 2, 2012

Motorists should prepare for a slight adjustment to the Interstate 90 express lane schedule.

Starting Tuesday, the state Department of Transportation plans to open the I-90 express lanes to westbound traffic at 6 a.m., five hours later than before. Crews used to open the lanes at 1 a.m., back when the process required separate crews to switch both the Interstate 5 and I-90 express lanes.

Now, the I-5 system is automated, so a single crew needs less time to switch both. The same crew performing a safety sweep of the I-5 lanes plans to also switch I-90.

Department of Transportation officials said the change means more time for maintenance crews to devote attention on the high-tech system designed to keep the highway moving.

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Use travel tools to make holiday trips less laborious

August 30, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. Aug. 30, 2012

Labor Day means more traffic on state highways as motorists hit the road to celebrate the last holiday weekend of summer.

In order to ease congestion, the state Department of Transportation and contractors plan to suspend most construction work for the weekend. Crews move off most roads from noon Friday through Sept. 3.

“It’s a popular weekend to travel; traffic is pretty much going to be busy any time you head out the door, but I find knowing what to expect in advance and/or where to find the traffic info makes traveling much easier,” Mark Finch, Statewide Travel Data Analysis Office manager, said in a statement.

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Washington traffic deaths reach historic low

August 25, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Aug. 25, 2012

The number of deaths on Washington roadways reached a historic low last year — 458.

The figures from last year show the lowest number of recorded traffic fatalities statewide since the 413 recorded in 1954, according to a state Department of Transportation report.

The agency said 97.5 percent of Washingtonians wore seat belts last year.

Officials also referenced the state plan to cut traffic fatalities.

Under a highway safety plan called Target Zero, the state aims to eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries in Washington during the years ahead. Officials set a goal of zero traffic deaths by 2030.

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State seeks input on transportation needs

August 21, 2012

Citizens can comment on the state transportation system through a public engagement program launched by the Washington State Transportation Commission.

The commission created the Voice of Washington State effort to offer a forum for residents to share opinions, post ideas and interact.

Learn more about the program and share thoughts at www.voiceofwashingtonstate.org. The program is open to any Washington resident. Registration is limited to one email address per person.

The goal is to gather public input on state transportation policy and funding, and to inform the statewide discussion and decision-making process on highways, mass transit, freight and high-speed rail, ferries, barges and aviation.

Press Editorial

August 14, 2012

Hired lobbyist could be good investment

We like the idea of the city of Issaquah hiring a lobbyist to represent its interests in Olympia to state lawmakers.

The lobbyist will be there primarily to bring money back to the city, going after local “earmarks,” a term generally associated with Washington, D.C., and Congress.

It doesn’t quite seem right to invest taxpayer dollars to go after a bigger pot of taxpayer dollars, but that’s the reality of today. Think of it as a donor development manager, a position paid for by many nonprofits. Most cities the size of Issaquah now use a paid lobbyist.

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Fundraising by foot, from Spokane to Issaquah

July 31, 2012

Arlene Carter, Providence Marianwood Foundation executive director (left) photographs Johann Neethling and his daughter Maria Henderson as they break the finish-line tape and are showered with confetti thrown by staffing coordinator Amy Lewis (right), after their cross-state fundraising walk. By Greg Farrar

Dozens of staff members and residents of Providence Marianwood cheered for Chaplain Johann Neethling as he crossed the finish line July 25 after a more than 300-mile walk from Spokane.

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Providence Marianwood chaplain walks across state, finishes on schedule

July 25, 2012

Johann Neethling (in front at left), chaplain for Providence Marianwood, finishes the home stretch of his eight-day, Spokane-to-Issaquah walk July 25. His daughter Maria Henderson (in safety vest) walked with him from start to finish. Her three children (from left) Cale, 13, Chris, 15 and Molli, 14, joined their mother and grandfather in the front of the entourage on 228th Avenue Southeast. By Greg Farrar

NEW — 4 p.m. July 25, 2012

Dozens of staff members and residents of Providence Marianwood cheered for Chaplain Johann Neethling as he crossed the finish line Wednesday after a more than 300-mile trip from Spokane.

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Fish project prompts Interstate 90 lane closures

July 17, 2012

Motorists should expect lane closures on eastbound Interstate 90 near Issaquah as crews remove a narrow culvert — a barrier to fish.

To complete the $2.8 million project, crews must work double shifts in order to wrap up construction before Aug. 31. The deadline is tied to the return of chinook and coho salmon, and steelhead, to the East Fork of Issaquah Creek.

The state Department of Transportation alerted motorists to prepare for closures through 3 p.m. July 20. Crews plan to reopen the lane for afternoon travelers and then close the lane again from July 21-27.

The project location is east of Highlands Drive Northeast and the Sunset Interchange between Issaquah and Preston.

Officials do not expect the closures to cause traffic backups. In the westbound direction, around-the-clock closures started several weeks ago.

Transportation planners envision a wider replacement to better accommodate the 25-foot-wide streambed in the area near the culvert.

The existing culvert impedes salmon and trout headed to historic rearing and spawning grounds.

City Council gives green light to transportation projects plan

July 3, 2012

City Council members approved the roadmap for all city transportation projects through 2018 — a guide to planned street and sidewalk improvements.

In a unanimous decision June 18, council members adopted the Transportation Improvement Program, or TIP, a guide to short- and long-term planning for road, transit and pedestrian projects. The document outlines possible transportation projects for 2013-18.

Transportation planners outlined possible improvements to downtown streets, street repairs and other projects in the expansive document.

The list does not include as many big-ticket projects as in past years — a result of council belt-tightening in the municipal budget.

Still, items outlined in the proposal could alleviate traffic congestion and offer motorists a smoother ride — if the city can find dollars to complete the projects.

Municipal staffers list transportation projects in the TIP, and then prioritize the projects through a separate process to fund capital improvements.

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