State Department of Transportation

transportation
6:04 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

WSDOT admits big mistakes on 520 pontoons

Additional work on the 520 bridge pontoons could cost tens of millions of dollars extra and push back the new bridge's opening by six months, after an expert review panel found design flaws that must be fixed.
Bellamy Pailthorp photo KPLU News

Big mistakes were made by the State Department of Transportation in its construction of the pontoons that will hold up the new 520 bridge across Lake Washington.

The agency says it is making repairs and design modifications to ensure the bridge will last the full 75 year lifespan promised.

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Transportation
11:20 am
Wed January 23, 2013

State lawmakers looking at cost of Washington ferries

WSDOT

State lawmakers may reconsider the law that requires new ferries to be built in Washington.

An audit suggested ferries could be built cheaper at shipyards out of state.

The Daily Herald reports the audit is the subject of a legislative hearing Wednesday in Olympia. The audit cost $1.2 million and took a year to complete.

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Transportation tax
11:22 am
Thu January 10, 2013

Washington, Oregon consider mileage-based road tax

Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 3:06 pm

PORTLAND - Washington and Oregon are getting serious about finding a replacement for the gas tax. Steadily improving fuel efficiency in cars is eroding the primary source of road funding in the Northwest. A new report to the 2013 Washington Legislature finds it "feasible" to have drivers pay by the mile instead. In Oregon, lawmakers have actually drafted legislation to do just that.

Suburban Portland SUV owner Mary Olson has possibly glimpsed the future of how we'll pay for roads, although it's tricky to spot.

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Traffic
9:48 am
Fri August 10, 2012

Get ready: Major road closures this weekend in Seattle region

nateOne Flickr Creative Commons

If you have to drive this weekend, you should plan on leaving a lot of extra time, as several major roads will be completely closed.

"Everybody is going to be touched by this weekend’s construction, whether you live in Renton or Seattle or Bellevue or Lake Stevens or Snohomish," says Jamie Holter with the State Department of Transportation.

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Earthquake Preparedness
5:22 pm
Wed March 16, 2011

Viaduct closure; Emergency system triggered by seismic sensors

A map showing where automated traffic control gates will go on State Route 99 in Seattle. The automated viaduct closure gates system improves safety by preventing people from driving onto the viaduct after a moderate to severe earthquake.
WSDOT

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn has been calling for a closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct as soon as possible.  That's because it's an earthquake hazard.  Other leaders think that's an over-reaction, since a new tunnel is already in the works. 

But the Viaduct will close this weekend for its semi-annual inspection.  Drivers will have to re-route their travel for two days.  Routine maintenance on the old structure was scheduled long before the earthquake in Japan. 

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Transportation
7:55 am
Fri February 18, 2011

Glitches in Good to Go electronic tolling system

Aeter Flickr

While it's a good idea to be prepared, sometimes it's good not to move too fast. 

Apparently there are glitches in the state's new "Good to Go" tolling system.  The State Department of Transportation says it will revamp the sign-up process after complaints by frustrated motorists trying to buy transponders online.  As Mike Lindblom reports in The Seattle Times:

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Alaskan Way Viaduct
4:15 pm
Thu December 9, 2010

Seattle Tunnel Partners promises a wider roadway, one year sooner

An early concept of the proposed SR 99 bored tunnel, to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct.
Courtesy WSDOT

State transportation officials have announced the likely winner in the competition to build a tunnel to replace Seattle's aging Alaskan Way Viaduct.  The proposal comes from a consortium known as Seattle Tunnel Partners.  It has a slightly higher price, but offers other benefits. 

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