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July 2013

Welcome to our July 2013 newsletter. Keith Metcalf is on temporary assignment in Olympia with Mike Frucci as acting Regional Administrator.

This month we talk about the Christening and inaugural sailing of our new vessel on the Keller ferry route, the Sanpoil and the SR 291 paving project.

As always, if you have any questions on items in this newsletter, or other transportation issues, please let me know. Give us a call at (509) 324-6010 or drop me an e-mail at:

Mike Frucci
Acting Regional Administrator
WSDOT Eastern Region
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Sanpoil Christening and Inaugural sailing

We are pleased to announce that a formal Christening ceremony and tribal blessing will dedicate Washington State’s newest ferry vessel. The 20-car M/V (Motor Vessel) Sanpoil will be the center of a celebration from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, August 14, 2013, at the Keller ferry south shore terminal.

The traditional vessel bottle-breaking will be the highlight of the event. It is customary to have the vessel’s “sponsor” break the ceremonial bottle on the hull. Ms. Jeanne Jerred, a Sanpoil Tribal Elder, will sponsor the vessel and have that honor. Additionally, members of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation will provide a blessing for the new boat.

The public is invited to the event, located 16 miles north of Wilbur, Washington. Carpooling to the event is strongly encouraged as parking at the terminal is extremely limited.

Following the ceremony and public viewing of the new boat, the Sanpoil will begin her regular service, crossing the Columbia River (Lake Roosevelt), providing a vital connection between Lincoln County and Ferry County on State Route 21. The ferry will be in operation seven days a week, from 6 a.m. until midnight.

This new ferry vessel meets all the latest US Coast Guard requirements and is expected to provide decades of reliable service. The Sanpoil is also more fuel-efficient, carries an additional eight passenger vehicles per trip, and can handle longer truck/trailer combinations as compared to the recently retired Martha S.

Construction of this new ferry vessel was made possible through a funding partnership of the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation.

The M/V Sanpoil will replace the Martha S. which has served the route since September 1948. The Sanpoil is the fifth state-operated vessel to serve the route that WSDOT took over in 1931. The history of a ferry-crossing at this location goes back to the 1890’s.

Foss Maritime of Seattle is the prime contractor for construction of the $12 million vessel. The Max J. Kuney Company of Spokane is constructing the $2 million terminal ramp reconfiguration.

For more information about Washington’s newest ferry, please visit the project website.

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SR 291/Francis Avenue paving

The Department has an extensive resurfacing project underway on State Route 291 in northwest Spokane. This project includes Francis Avenue from Division to the vicinity of Royal Drive. At that point, Francis turns into Mine Mile Road and the paving work extends as far as the community of Nine Mile Falls. Beyond Nine Mile Falls, the contractor will crack seal the existing pavement.

With the busy traffic, most of the paving work is being done during evening and overnight hours with sidewalk and some other items done during the day. We appreciate everyone’s patience as we work to improve this important corridor.

We did have some asphalt quality issues with some of the paving work on the Nine Mile Road section and have received a number of comments from the public as a result. Some of that section did not meet specifications for smoothness. We have rejected this substandard pavement and will require the contractor to replace it at no additional cost. The Contractor has agreed with the replacement direction and you can expect this work to take place before the end of the Contract. We currently expect this project to be completed in early September.