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Cultural Resources

WSDOT Cultural Resource Specialists (CRS) (pdf 31 kb) help the agency comply with state and federal cultural resource laws that apply to:

  • archaeological sites
  • historic structures
  • culturally important areas 

Transportation Projects and Archaeological/Historic Resources Management

Washington State has a rich and diverse prehistory/ history that have left evidence across the landscape. When WSDOT embarks on a project, federal and state laws require that impacts to archaeological, historical and cultural resources be considered. To assess potential impacts, cultural resource specialists:

  • Coordinate with the Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP) to complete transportation projects with limited impacts to archaeological and historic resources. 
  • Identify archaeological remains and historic structures eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places located within a project's area of disturbance.
  • Consult with the State Historic Preservation Officer (DAHP), Native American Tribes, and the public concerning the appropriate treatment of archaeological and historic resources that cannot be otherwise avoided.

For more information on how WSDOT complies with historic preservation laws, regulations, and polices, visit the Cultural Resources Compliance page.

Creative Mitigation Efforts

Check out 13,000 years of local history at       
Developed in partnership between WSDOT and, is an educational resource providing a rich range of geographical, cultural, planning and construction history of the area, from pre-1850 to the present. The website is a key element of WSDOT's project commitments under the National Historic Preservation Act and includes essays, photos, and audio interviews.

It is WSDOT policy to avoid adverse effects, where practical, to historical, archaeological, and cultural resources in planning, constructing, operating or maintaining the state's transportation system. If it is not practical  to avoid them, such effects will be mitigated.  A sample of creative mitigation options developed for various WSDOT projects are provided below:

  • Project websites

  , SR 520 Bridge Replacement and HOV Project

            SR 16 Tacoma Narrows Bridge Project- Bridge History            

  • Information centers for the public

          Milepost 31 Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Project

  • Video documentaries

Remembering The Ebey Slough Swing Bridge, SR 529 (wmv file)

The Simpson Avenue Bridge: A Case Study in Maintenance Success, US 101 (wmv file)

They Called Him 'The Skipper'; The Life and Times of Washington's Lacey V. Murrow (wmv file)

The Manette Bridge: Bringing People Together for 81 Years, 1930-2011, SR 303 (wmv file)

  • Pod casts
  • Archival photo documentation
  • Interpretive signage
  • Lesson plans (grade K-12)
  • Historical essays, papers, presentations and publications:

I-5 Nuclear Fallout Shelter- "Waiting for the the End of the World: Prototype Fallout Shelter Under Interstate 5 in North Seattle" by Craig Holstine, WSDOT Historian, appearing in the Journal of Northwest Anthropology

“Lifeboat Ethics’ under the Interstate: Seattle’s Prototype Highway Fallout Shelter,” by Craig Holstine, WSDOT Historian, presented at the Society of Architectural Historians Marion Dean Ross Pacific Northwest Chapter Conference, Seattle, 2014.

Washington State Historic Bridges


    McMillin Bridge, SR 162 Puyallup River Bridge


    McMillin Bridge, 1934
    A bridge of unique design listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Visit the WSDOT Historic Bridges site to view highlights of Washington's most significant Transportation structures.

Pacific Northwest Ethnobotany

The Ethnobotany and Cultural Resources List identifies plants found along the highway Right-of-Way in Western Washington of traditional cultural significance and use.

Cultural Resources Training (CRT)

Each spring, WSDOT partners with the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation and Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission to offer Cultural Resources Training (CRT) at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington.

CRT promotes awareness, preservation and stewardship of Washington’s cultural resources and is the only comprehensive training of this kind in the state. Enrollment is open to anyone with a need or desire to learn about cultural resources, cultural resource management laws and regulations, and the importance of preservation.

Historic Cabin at Olmstead State Park, Kittitas
Training participants will explore historic and archaeological sites in the Kittitas Valley and Columbia River Valley.
Historic Homestead Cabin at Olmstead Place State Park in Kittitas County.  

Using classroom and field exercises, participants work with some of the region's most qualified instructors to learn the skills necessary to address cultural resource management issues. This award-winning training is held only once a year and space is limited. 

2015 Cultural Resources Training

When: April 27-30, 2015
Where: Central Washington University, Ellensburg, Washington
Registration Fee: $475

Registration: Open- Email for available openings.

WSDOT staff : Please contact Erin Littauer, Cultural Resource Specialist at 360.570.2448 or to register. 

For general registration (non-WSDOT): Please contact Russell Holter, Preservation Design Reviewer with the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation at or 360.586.3533. 

If you have attended CRT in the past and it has been over 5 years, you are encouraged to attend as cultural resource laws and regulations have changed. Please note, preference for enrollment will be given to new attendees.


Cultural Resources Program
Contact the Cultural Resources Program Manager or refer to our Frequently Asked Questions

Specific Project or Region Activity
Contact that region's or program's Cultural Resource Specialist (CRS) (pdf 31 kb).

Native American Tribes
Contact the WSDOT Tribal Liaison Office site.