From the Regional Administrator
Welcome to our December 2012 newsletter. This month we highlight the progress on our new Columbia River ferry vessel, the Sanpoil, an upcoming traffic study on US 395, and our employee food drive.
Don’t forget to plan ahead for your winter travels. For traffic and weather conditions, here’s a one-stop website for travel conditions: www.wsdot.wa.gov/winter .
As always, if you have any questions on items in this newsletter, or other transportation issues, please let me know. Give me a call at (509) 324-6010 or drop me an e-mail at: email@example.com .
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Ferry vessel construction progress
Here’s a different story about a boat getting flipped over. No, there are no big headlines about a daring rescue at sea in this story.
Now being built near Longview, the “Sanpoil,” our new ferry vessel for the Keller Route across the Columbia River in eastern Washington, reached a major construction milestone on December 11.
For the last several months, workers at the Foss Maritime boat yard have been fabricating this new ferry vessel. They began by building the frame for the car deck then pieced together the hull frame, followed by the hull plates. When that phase was completed, the center section, and two outer sections were upside-down on the shop floor.
The next move was to flip the 20,000 lb. center section over. In a process that took two cranes and about 45 minutes, the 56 foot-long component was lifted up, rolled over, and placed on a special cradle aboard a multi-axle trailer.
The ship builders have also attached the bow sections. (There are two “front ends” on the boat and no stern since it’s a double ended ferry. Cars and trucks will drive on and off at either end so the boat never has to turn around.) The center hull section on the trailer is 22 feet wide and 116 feet long. That’s the maximum size that will be able to squeeze along the highways and under any overpasses as it, the two outer sections, the pilot house, and other components are towed from the boat yard to Grand Coulee Dam for final assembly early next year. The Sanpoil should enter service in mid-2013.
For vessel construction photos, go to: www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/SR21/KellerFerry/constructionphotos.htm .
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US 395 truck study coming up
As we plan for future highway improvements, we need to understand how the highway system is used. Freight movement is a critical use of our highways. One of the most important tools we use is an “origin/destination” (O&D) study. In 2013, our region planning office is joining with Washington State University (WSU) to do a freight O&D study on US 395 between Deer Park and the Canadian border.
WSU Freight Policy Institute staff members and volunteers from area Lions Clubs will ask truck drivers to stop for a few minutes to be interviewed about their route and cargo. The one-day surveys will be conducted starting in early 2013 at three locations along the route and spaced through the year to capture seasonal freight movements.
A similar study on a number of eastern Washington highways was performed by WSU in the mid 1990’s.
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2012 Employee Food Drive
Once again, WSDOT Eastern Region employees have shown their true holiday spirit with outstanding support for this year’s fund-raising drive to support community food banks in the area. This year, the grand total was $13,321.50 in cash, plus 2,185 lbs. of food.
Employees could direct their donation to their choice of local food banks. The majority went to Second Harvest of the Inland Northwest, the umbrella food distributor for area food banks. Other food banks and agencies included Spokane Valley Partners, North County Food Pantry, Colfax Food Bank, Medical Lake Food Bank, Post Falls Food Bank, Our Place Food Bank and the Union Gospel Mission, the area’s largest shelter.
The annual food drive is a Region tradition since 2006 and the big winners are the food banks and their clients. In just seven years, WSDOT Eastern Region employees have donated a total of $64,439.88 and 22,462 lbs. of non-perishable food.