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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
July 31, 2012
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.
July 25, 2012
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.
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.
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.
June 26, 2012
The state Department of Licensing launched a safety outreach campaign last month to reduce motorcycle-related injuries and fatalities throughout the summer.
The agency’s “Look Twice, Save a Life” campaign is geared to reach millions of motorists across the state and motorcycle owners.
Riders can be difficult to see on busy roads because of motorcycles’ smaller size and profile. Motorists should take extra time to be aware of what’s around them.
Since 2008, the number of other drivers failing to yield the right of way to motorcyclists has dropped by about 20 percent, according to collision data compiled by the state Department of Transportation.
The top three rider causes of motorcycle crashes rank as alcohol or drug impairment, improper lane position and speeding.
To legally operate a motorcycle on Washington roads, a rider must have a driver’s license endorsement — or his or her bike could be impounded even after a simple traffic stop. The licensing agency offers information for unendorsed riders at www.dol.wa.gov/driverslicense/motorcycles.html.