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Highway System Plan

The Highway System Plan (HSP) is the component of the Washington Transportation Plan (WTP) that deals with state owned highways. A 200 page document, the HSP is a 20 year projection of needs, conceptual solutions to those needs (projects), and estimated costs to provide for those needs. The HSP contains general information on our highway programs and how they are balanced with funding projections.

The Highway System Plan serves three main functions:

  1. The plan defines the services to be provided and projects what is needed to maintain, preserve, operate and improve our highways for 20 years.
  2. The plan determines what these services will cost and compares the costs to projected revenues.
  3. The plan determines system priorities. Maintenance, Traffic Operations, and Preservation are the top priorities. Highway Safety, Environmental Retrofit, Economic Initiatives, and High Occupance Vehicle (HOV) lanes are high priorities. Highway mobility improvements, although they represent more than half of the the total 20 year needs, are the lowest priority.

The plan also provides funding guidelines. The costs to fully implement the HSP far exceed the expected revenues.

Although the HSP is a 20 year look at highway needs it is, by necessity, a dynamic plan. It is updated every two years in accordance with the state's biennial funding cycle. The needs of the highway system are constantly changing. Innovations in maintenance and construciton techniques, population and commercial growth, changes in land use, environmental mitigation requirements, commuter adaptation to travel demand, and many other factors contribute to the dynamics of our transportation system. In order to respond to these changes the WSDOT planning staff monitors the performance of the system, analyzes the gathered data and determines how to allocate limited transportation funding statewide. The HSP is a product of these planning efforts.

Each region is represented on a committee that meets monthly to discuss and communicate to region stakeholders the issues related to the HSP. The North Central Region's representative is Bill Gould, Asst. Regional Planning Engineer, (509) 667-2909.