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Monday, June 13, 2011
Summer Derrey, WSDOT I-90 Communications, 509-577-1943 (Yakima)
Jen Watkins, I-90 Wildlife Bridges Coalition, 206-675-9747 (Seattle)
YAKIMA – Two Washington state students won top honors for their participation in the seventh annual Interstate 90 Bridging Futures Art and Essay Contest. The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and the I-90 Wildlife Bridges Coalition held surprise presentations at each student’s school to honor them for their outstanding creativity.
The winning students are:
• Thomas Snedeker, 5th grade, Lincoln Elementary School, Ellensburg
• Susan Wehelie, 4th grade, Dunlap Elementary School, Seattle
Snedeker and Wehelie were given goodie bags and a framed copy of their winning artwork. The artwork of the top 10 winners will be on display this summer at several businesses along the I-90 corridor.
“We are continually impressed by the level of creativity and thoughtfulness of the artwork and essay submissions and this year is no exception,” said Charlie Raines, I-90 Wildlife Bridges Coalition director. “It is important for our children to understand the natural environment and how wildlife and people can coexist.”
More than 100 students participated in the Bridging Futures Contest from schools across the state, including Naches, Yakima, Spokane, Buckley, Burien, Tacoma and Seattle. The students created drawings depicting wildlife bridges – an essential part of the I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East Project – and essays highlighting the importance of considering wildlife when planning and designing state highways.
“I-90 is an important transportation corridor,” said Brian White, WSDOT assistant regional administrator for I-90 construction and project development. “One way we are making I-90 safer and more reliable for the future is by building bridges to connect habitats on each side of the highway, which will and reduce the potential risk of wildlife collisions.”
In addition to building wildlife bridges on I-90 from Hyak (milepost 55) to Keechelus Dam (milepost 60), WSDOT will:
• Widen I-90 from four to six lanes
• Replace deteriorated concrete pavement in the existing lanes and shoulders for a smoother ride
• Stabilize rock slopes to reduce the risk of rocks falling onto the roadway
• Extend chain-up and chain-off areas for freight
• Straighten sharp curves to improve visibility
• Build a new snowshed to reduce avalanche-related closures
• Add lighting, traffic cameras and variable message signs.
WSDOT received funding from 2005 gas tax to design and construct this project, which will be completed by 2016.
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