Ongoing rainfall to dampen holiday, but worst is done

November 20, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Nov. 20, 2012

Expect continued rainfall through Thanksgiving, but not like the blustery, soggy conditions Monday.

Severe rainfall from a series of storms derailed the afternoon commute and raised flooding concerns on local waterways as more than 2 inches of rain soaked the Issaquah area. The storm caused power outages in Issaquah and Sammamish, and prompted Sammamish city officials to close Beaver Lake Preserve and Pine Lake Park due to high wind.

King County road crews spent Monday afternoon removing leaves and debris from storm drains and responding to problems. The state Department of Transportation warned motorists to prepare for waterlogged Thanksgiving travel and snow on the mountain passes.

National Weather Service meteorologists in Seattle forecast rain for Issaquah into next week, although not as bad as the Monday deluge.

The precipitation raises the prospect of localized flooding on city streets.

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State serves Thanksgiving travel advice to motorists

November 19, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Nov. 19, 2012

Before the feast, Thanksgiving launches the holiday travel season.

The state Department of Transportation is offering numerous travel information tools for motorists headed out during the holiday weekend.

Travelers planning to hit state highways can find information on the Department of Transportation website about the times and places drivers can expect to experience Thanksgiving weekend delays, including U.S. 2, Interstate 90, and Interstate 5 at the Canadian border, and between Olympia and Tacoma.

Thanksgiving weekend is typically ranks among busiest period all year for I-90 over Snoqualmie Pass and U.S. 2 over Stevens Pass.

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Washington State Patrol highlights drowsy driving dangers

November 15, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Nov. 15, 2012

State troopers urged motorists to wake up to the dangers of drowsy driving during Drowsy Driving Prevention Week.

In addition to drunken driving and distracted driving, drowsy driving can cause devastating effects on Washington roadways.

Drowsy Driving Prevention Week is observed through Nov. 18.

In 2010, drowsy driving caused 16 deaths and 60 seriously injured motorists in Washington. Estimates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicate drowsy driving results in 1,550 deaths and 71,000 injuries nationwide each year.

“Falling asleep at the wheel is as preventable as collisions that are caused by speeding and drinking and driving,” state patrol Chief John Batiste said in a statement. “People need to take the necessary precautions to prevent sleepiness as a needless cause of deaths and injuries.”

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November 6, 2012

Shoppers deserve traffic solutions

There are two messy traffic jams that occur in Issaquah, primarily on busy weekend shopping days. With the arrival of the holiday shopping season, these locations will only get worse. While you may have others in mind, we think you’d agree these two are tops for driver annoyance.

Both spots are in the heart of shopping centers.

No. 1 honors go to the ingress/egress to Lake Sammamish Center near The Home Depot. The traffic signal and Interstate 90 Undercrossing help drivers move in and out of the area, but getting out of the parking lot from the south side is a lesson in frustration. Often the only option is to circle away from the exit and try again from a new angle. The only saving grace is that there are no pedestrians in the midst of this tangle of cars.

The intersection on Northwest Maple Street in the heart of the Issaquah Commons is the second-most hazardous traffic jam in town.

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State allows studded tires as winter approaches

October 30, 2012

The change in seasons means motorists can again use studded tires.

In Washington, studded tires can be legally used between Nov. 1 and March 31. Violators face a $124 penalty during other months. The abrasion on roads caused by studded tires wears down pavement at a much greater rate.

The state Department of Transportation recommends motorists headed into higher elevations carry chains and use approved traction tires year round.

In addition to studded tires, the Washington State Patrol reminds all drivers and freight haulers to carry sufficient chains between Nov. 1 and April 1.

Under state law, commercial vehicles and combinations of vehicles more than 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight rating must carry sufficient tire chains.

Gubernatorial hopefuls support hatcheries, parks

October 23, 2012

Democrat Jay Inslee and Republican Rob McKenna clashed in a recent series of debates, but the candidates vying to serve as Washington’s next governor share similar positions on local issues, such as support for the state parks system.

Jay Inslee

Rob McKenna

The race at the state level is focused on the candidates’ policies on education and transportation — hot topics on the docket as Inslee and McKenna met in recent weeks.

The Issaquah Press asked the candidates about funding for state parks, salmon restoration and growth management — key concerns in Issaquah and the surrounding area.

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Keep little ghouls, goblins safe on Halloween night

October 23, 2012

City officials reminded Issaquah residents and motorists to remain on the lookout for little ghosts and goblins on Halloween, Oct. 31.

Most neighborhoods turn into haunting grounds for dozens of trick-or-treating children on Halloween night, and safety is a paramount concern for parents and police.

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Washington tops United States for seatbelt use

October 23, 2012

Washington topped the United States for seatbelt use last year, according to a recent federal report.

The report said 97.5 percent of Washingtonians buckled up in 2011. The release marked the seventh consecutive year the state’s seatbelt use rate exceeded 95 percent.

The national average for seatbelt use last year reached 84 percent.

Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center estimates wearing lap-and-shoulder restraints reduces a vehicle passenger’s risk of dying in a crash by 61 percent.

Issaquah motorist is injured in Interstate 90 crash

October 23, 2012

Police said a 45-year-old Issaquah woman sustained minor injuries in a major crash Oct. 19 along Interstate 90 near the Interstate 405 interchange.

Washington State Patrol investigators said a 57-year-old Renton woman speeding in a Mazda caused the accident on westbound I-90 in Bellevue.

The state patrol said she crashed into the back of a Toyota at about 5:30 p.m., sending the Toyota into the adjacent lane, where a pickup truck driven by the Issaquah woman struck the vehicle.

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Department of Transportation hosts local meeting on Snoqualmie Pass project

October 22, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Oct. 22, 2012

The state Department of Transportation is at work on a major project to improve safety and meet traffic demands on the east side of Snoqualmie Pass, and local residents can comment on the project.

The project is on a 15-mile stretch between Hyak and Easton in Kittitas County. Improvements to the corridor include building a six-lane highway, stabilizing rock slopes, building wildlife crossings, reducing sharp curves and adding chain-up areas.

The 45-day public comment period for the draft environmental review on avalanche structures proposed for the project runs through Nov. 19.

The agency plans to hold a public meeting for residents to ask questions and discuss the project from 4-7 p.m. Tuesday at the Lewis Creek Visitor Center, 5808 Lakemont Blvd. S.E., Bellevue, near Cougar Ridge Elementary School.

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