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North Central Region NewsBrief


July 21, 2016

In this issue:

o On the Road

o Behind the Curtain

o Olympia

o Correction

On the Road

Chip Seal Prep Work Resumes Monday


Our contractor’s asphalt production facility broke Wednesday. The work scheduled Thursday and Friday on US 97 and US 97A between Wenatchee and Chelan had to be postponed. There are no travel restrictions on either side of the Columbia River until the flaggers return and the 20 minute delays begin next Monday morning.

Bridge deck renovations, pavement repairs, chip sealing, new curve warning signs and rumble strip projects will bring out the flaggers in Chelan, Douglas, Grant and Okanogan Counties next week. Please, “Give ‘em a Brake”.

Visit our Region Construction Update page for details on our other projects underway.

Check next week’s I-90 blasting closure schedules & construction for Snoqualmie to Vantage. With activities at the Gorge and further east, we’re predicting there could be backups with delays up to 2 hours due to the closure of the outside eastbound lane for the Vantage Bridge cleaning project. Be forewarned.

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Behind the Curtain

Invisible Highway Signs

New Signs

We have heard concerns regarding slower drivers in the left lane of the 4 lane section of US 2 between Wenatchee and Dryden. The area we hear of most often is westbound from Wenatchee to Cashmere. Many of the slow movers are in the left lane to turn left at Cotlets Ave. Perhaps they’re just early lane changers?

A couple of months ago after one of those calls we decided to look at all of our “Slower Traffic Keep Right” signs and decided a new look might get more attention. We have now replaced the old “Keep Right Except to Pass” signs with new “State Law - All Vehicles Keep Right Except to Pass” signs. We also added new sign locations. There are now five “Keep Right...” signs in each direction between Wenatchee and the Big Y / Don Senn Memorial Interchange. That’s roughly one sign every 2 ½ miles.

The Federal Highway Administration completed a study a few years ago determining certain signs became “invisible” to regular commuters after as few as three months.

We’re hoping a new look and a stronger message will help.


Pokémon Go - First Official Collision Reported


This week, near Fall City
, a driver was cited for causing a collision because he admitted to being distracted by the Pokémon Go App. This is the first distracted driving collision recorded by the Washington State Patrol since the mobile app launched earlier this month.

On Monday a driver of a Honda on SR 202 in Fall City ran into the rear of a Chevy. The driver of the Chevy had stopped to make a left
turn when her car was hit (no injuries).

The driver of the Honda admitted to being distracted, focusing on his Pokémon Go App.

Pokémon Go is a new reality game letting players “hunt” for Pokémon characters in the real world using GPS. It’s based on a 1990s video game featuring creatures called Pokémon.

Players must visit real life locations – based upon their current GPS location and the app – to capture the Pokémon, who can appear at any time. Players look at their phone while searching, don't watch where they’re going and walk into traffic.

The WSP & WSDOT urge gamers to consider safety over a high score.

· Do not trespass! Please don’t be poking out of bushes at government facilities or on private property, especially at night as it may trigger security or a police response. Never enter a work zone or construction site to find a Pokémon. Our work sites are not open to the public for safety and security reasons.

· Please don’t catch and drive, it’s more dangerous than texting while driving. A text takes away your attention for about five seconds. Traveling at 55 mph, that's time to travel the length of a football field. Searching for Pokemon takes your eyes off the road even longer.

· If you’re on your way to a PokéStop, know your surroundings and pay attention to where you're going and who's around you.

We ask players to stay aware of their environment and surroundings to keep themselves – and our workers – safe.


Sheep Shift

Last week we told you there would be a cattle drive across US 97 about two miles south of the Blewett summit for about an hour on Wednesday morning. Turns out it was a flock, not a herd!

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:

NewsBriefs are the result of the efforts of my Leadership Team