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North Central Region NewsBrief


April 29, 2016

In this issue:

· On the Road

    o Enterprise Drive Roundabout

    o Knapps Tunnel Closing

· Behind the Curtain

    o Sunnyslope Update

· Olympia

    o Washington Fruit Express

On the Road 

NCRegion Weekly Construction Update

There are more orange cones and flaggers out next week:

enterprise drive rab 
The US2/97 Enterprise Drive roundabout project McDougall & Sons are building at Baker Flats continues. The speed limit is reduced to 35 mph through the work zone. Expect two-way traffic with no lane restrictions, this week, as crews pour concrete for curbs, light bases, islands and slabs. There are some sharp curves with advisory 25 mph signs, so, please slow down for your safety and the crew’s.

The US 2 Nason Creek Rest Area will be closed for water testing from 10 p.m. on Monday night, May 2nd to about 2 p.m. Tuesday.

Work on US 2 at Coles Corner continues. Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., expect flaggers when needed where our contractor is installing a Highway Advisory Radio station, the poles for traffic cameras and posts for the electronic message sign.

Knapps Tunnel
US 97A will be closed on Thursday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., so the Knapps Hill Tunnel’s drains can be cleaned, new signs installed, lights replaced and a general condition inspection can be completed. Expect to be detoured onto SR 971 (Navarre Coulee Rd./ South Lakeshore Drive), adding 8 miles to the trip. No impact on school or transit bus schedules. 

Elmer City TIB

Elmer City residents will soon be able to walk to the post office on new sidewalks and across SR-155 using new crosswalk warning lights as a result of a $240,000 Transportation Improvement Board grant. The project should be complete by mid-May, except for the warning lights on back order.


Tour De Bloom
Next Friday (5/6) from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Tour De Bloom bike races will close the westbound lane of US 2 for 15 miles from Leavenworth to Coles Corner and plan to share the road for 4 miles of SR 207 to the Beaver Valley Rd. Follow the pilot car through Tumwater Canyon.

Next Saturday (5/7) from 11 to Noon in Winthrop expect a detour around downtown (SR 20) during the '49er Days Grand Parade and from 11 to 12:30 in Grand Coulee, expect a detour around the Colorama Festival Parade’s mile long route through town (SR 155).

Also next Saturday is the Wenatchee’s Apple Blossom Festival Grand Parade. Travelers through town should expect significant delays as the parade crosses SR 285 (Chelan Ave. and Mission St.) Unless you’re going to the parade, you may want to detour around the downtown area.


Monday (5/2) the project repainting the Vantage Bridge resumes which means the outside eastbound lane will be closed until the work is complete, this fall. For this first week, a westbound lane will be closed, too:

Eastbound & Westbound: Daytime width restriction of 14’ from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Expect one lane to be closed as crews install containment nets above the roadway.

Also on I-90, expect more blasting closures at Snoqualmie Pass this week.

Behind the Curtain

I-90 smoke/dust closures

WSP Sergeant Marcus Smith will be facilitating the next Columbia Basin I-90 dust and fire closure project meeting. It’s Monday, May 2, @ 1 p.m. in Ephrata at Time Out Pizza, 1095 Basin St SW. Reserve a spot: 509-765-6175. He says, “The first meeting in Quincy was a productive beginning toward the goal of coordinating detour routes for dust storms between George and Vantage efficiently.”

Sunnyslope Update

Nearly 100 people attended the March 30 Open House on the intersection reconfiguration plan for US 2/97 at Lower Sunnyslope Rd. 66 people signed in and we received 42 written comments. The design team is still evaluating all the comments and suggestions. The team expects to make its recommendation in the next couple of weeks.

Below is a summary of the suggestions made at the open house:

1. Do nothing, which is not an option, as 63% of the collisions were T-bones which produce the highest rate of fatal and serious injuries.

2. Lower the speed limit to 45.

3. Add an eastbound deceleration and acceleration lane on the highway above and below the intersection.

4. Install a signal or metered ramps..

5. Build an over pass.

6. Add a westbound deceleration Lane for traffic turning right onto the Lower Sunnyslope Road.

7. Add a Refuge Lane for traffic turning left from the Lower Sunnyslope onto the highway westbound.

Here’s the link to the Project’s web page


Washington Fruit Express Revisited

Fruit Express
Monday, May 2, is the deadline for private operators to submit proposals to restore the rail-shipping program that was discontinued four years ago.

WSDOT asked railroads and others to help us determine if the demand is there to revive the Washington Fruit Express. WSDOT provided 25 refrigerated rail cars that were connected to Amtrak passenger trains headed east.

The Fruit Express launched in 2006 and was suspended in 2012 when privately-owned companies expanded into the market including “Cold Train” in Quincy. “Cold Train” has since ceased operations.

The original program had also expanded well beyond just tree fruit. Matt Harris of the Washington State Potato Commission wants it back, "Efficient movement of our perishable commodities is critical to the livelihood of potato growers in Washington State."

Survey questions

We’re including a survey link in these NewsBriefs. This week, you can tell us what you think about a higher speed limit on state highways and sharing the road with bicycle racers on state highways.

Click Here for the survey

Until next week,

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: