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North Central Region NewsBrief

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September 23, 2016

In this issue:

o On the Road

o Behind the Curtain

o Olympia

o Survey Results

On the Road

Leavenworth Award

This year's Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT)/Federal Highway Way Administration (FHWA) committee has selected a project in Leavenworth as a 2016 Award of Excellence Winner.

Best City Project went to the City of Leavenworth for its Commercial Street Reconstruction project.
Before - Commercial StreetAfter - Commercial Street
            Before                             After
Our Local Programs Engineer, Paul Mahre, nominated the project for an award in June. (Story in 6/17 edition). Commercial Street included some unique features including a large gabion wall (wire net blocks of rocks) and heating elements in the sidewalks to melt snow.

A framed poster of the project with before and after photographs, as well as a Washington plaque, will be presented to the City at the October 11 Council Meeting (6 p.m.).

Orange Cones

·Only Three projects actively under construction this coming week.

· Check our Region Construction Update page for details on all the Region projects underway or get traffic & construction alerts directly to your PC or phone.

· You can subscribe to get email or text messages for our region’s traffic alerts and construction alerts as the incident happens or the work begins. Sign in with an email address or cell phone number and you are automatically subscribed to the requested list.

· Check next week’s I-90 construction/maintenance delays for Snoqualmie to Vantage.

Follow-up File

A new Park and Ride for Rock Island at the old weigh station site is taking shape (8/26 edition). 
Rock Island Park and Ride
This week new pavement parking stripes were applied.

Our signals crew completed installation of all the components for the new Bicycle Radar Detection system at SR 28B/19th Street in East Wenatchee this week. (9/9 edition)  Now it’s in the test phase to address any bugs.

The emergency pull-out on SR 243 between Vernita and Priest Rapids was completed this week. 
SR 243 MP 4
It widened several hundred yards of westbound shoulder at MP 4 to provide a safe place to pull completely off the highway for distressed travelers, commercial vehicles and emergency vehicles.

Behind the Curtain

Speaker Bureau Busy

Project Engineer Dan Lewis and Assistant Regional Administrator Dave Bierschbach attended a Sunrise Rotary club breakfast on Tuesday at the Red Lion in Wenatchee. 
Sunrise Rotary Club
The main topic of discussion was the SR 28/5th Street Intersection project to be built next year. Dan made a presentation on the project, discussed the roundabout preferred alternative, and both answered questions. Dave said that the presentation was well received; the audience had good questions producing a constructive dialog.

If your group/club/organization would appreciate a WSDOT speaker on anything from summer construction to winter operations or anything else we do, please call

Goathead Warriors

WSDOT gets help every day to do our job, from a call about a deer to the adopt a highway volunteers who collect litter. Our ever-growing system of bicycle paths which are designated transportation corridors, has been consistently improved though the volunteer efforts of a group called the Goathead Warriors. 

goathead weed

Warriors go out with their shovels and bags from spring through fall eradicating the goat head weeds along the trails to the relief of rider’s tires and walker’s furry pets.

August’s high temperatures accelerated weed growth, but for the first time since the Loop Trail was built in 1993 it was hard to spot a live goathead plant the first week of September, according to the chief Warrior, Doug Pauly, who says, ”The riverfront battle is still on but, we are winning!”

While goatheading last week three bicyclists stopped to chat with Pauly:

· “I had six flat tires last year and zero so far this year.”

· “I had more than two dozen flats on the Rocky Reach Trail last year. It was really frustrating. This year none.”

· “Every year I’ve experienced flat tires on the Loop trail. This year not one.”

The Warriors divided the 18 miles of riverfront trail into six sectors and here’s September’s report:

East Side Loop Trail: Zero plants found. Eastmont Parks gets significant credit for their best goathead attack since the Loop Trail was built over 25 years ago.

Confluence to Odabashian: Hard to find a live goathead plant in what has been chronic infestation/flat tire area for 30+ years. The State Parks team has continued to deliver outstanding support to the Warrior’s efforts with mowing and herbicide controls.

West Side Irrigation Bridge: “Clear.” Wenatchee Public Works staff made this section a priority this summer which was a huge help.

HydroPark Trail: It has stayed clear, however, the connector trail from Wenatchee Valley Mall is the only trail segment where Warriors still are getting large plants growing on and alongside the trail. This section will move up on the Warrior’s the priority list next year.

Rocky Reach Trail: Goatheads are continuing to sprout but the vast majority weretaken out before they dropped any seeds. Adjacent to the trail has remained largely clear. Three heavier infestation spots in the buffer zone, well off the trail, have been a challenge for the Warrior’s all summer. Eradication work is also being accomplished by orchardists along the trail, Washington State Parks and Chelan County PUD crews.

Cascadian Building to Walla Walla Park: The Chelan PUD Parks team continues their “zero tolerance” goathead strategy. Their section is 99% goathead free… with zero flat tires. This is what we want the entire riverfront trail system to look like in 5 years.

"Is this really worth the effort?" asks Pauly, who then answers his own question. “As I watch hundreds of smiling walkers and bicyclists go by on any given Saturday, for me the answer is a resounding, Yes."

Olympia

We Take Threats Seriously

An anonymous letter was received last week from a constituent frustrated by highway construction and traffic congestion on the I-5 Corridor. The letter included a threat against WSDOT. It was turned over to the Washington State Patrol for investigation. The letter was specific to west side projects, but it could happen anywhere.

The threat against WSDOT was not the first, and probably not the last. Our job is to work together to keep ourselves, each other and the public safe. WSDOT employees are trained and encouraged to report anything that seems out of place, uncomfortable or just wrong, in their workplace.

Budget time

WSDOT submitted its budget request for the 2017-2019 biennium to the Office of Financial Management last week.

Secretary Roger Millar said It was a difficult process, one constrained to available revenues and balanced for the next four years. It was guided by the Governor’s Results Washington and our own Results WSDOT strategic plans. It also aligns with our three agency emphasis areas: Inclusion, Workforce Development and Practical Solutions.

Much of our budget request focuses on delivering the 2015 Connecting Washington package and finishing the last of the Nickel and TPA projects

The next legislative session begins in January.

Surveys

Holiday Travel Graphs, bicycle and driver manners questions generated responses over the past month and we thought you’d appreciate finding out what your fellow readers thought.

Labor Day

Did you use the graphs? Here we learned how you ask the question matters.

80% of those who traveling said yes. 2% said no because their route wasn’t one of the highways that we graph. (We only graph high volume routes with holiday backups and delays). The other 18% weren’t traveling…

This chart shows how well we predicted the traffic on Labor Day weekend over Snoqualmie. We got the hours when volumes were highest, but apparently the lower gas prices, or something else, had a greater impact than we thought. There was a full 7% increase in traffic over last year.

2016 Prediction based on 2015

2016 Actual

'15 to '16

Diff

'15 to '16 %Diff

Labor Day Friday

52,569

55,001

2,432

4%

Labor Day Saturday

44,809

48,456

3,647

8%

Labor Day Sunday

41,342

46,524

5,182

11%

Labor Day Monday

48,357

50,713

2,356

5%

Tota

187,077

200,694

13,617

7%

·Recently our survey asked if you are you courteous to bicyclists? 74% answered yes and 26%, no. The comments that came with the answers, however, made it clear both groups felt bicyclists often fail to follow traffic laws.

·Last week it asked what driver behavior annoys you most? Here are the rankings:

Tailgating and driving too slow (in various situations) were 1 and 2, only separated by a single vote. Cell phone use & texting, failure to signal and failure to stop at signs or signals followed; each netting about an equal share (which was about half of the top two). Pets in laps and stopping in traffic to let someone in or out of a parking lot/driveway earned “honorable” mentions.

If you missed the opportunity to “play” – Click Here for the survey (Ignore the specific question – you can comment on any of them and we’ll figure it out!)

Be safe

Dan Sarles

Regional Administrator, WSDOT North Central Region

If you have any questions on items in this NewsBrief, or other transportation issues, please let me know. Call me at (509) 667-3001 or send me an e-mail at: sarlesd@wsdot.wa.gov

NewsBriefs are the result of the efforts of my Leadership Team:

Team