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North Central Region NewsBrief

December 15, 2017

In this issue:

o Events - Leavenworth

o Travel - Holiday Plans

o Kudos - Douglas County

o Region - Search/Rescue

o State - A Big Swap 


The last of the three Leavenworth Christmas Lighting Festival weekends starts tonight and continues through Sunday. Consider carpooling or utilizing Link Transit. Delays last weekend on Highway 2 westbound headed into Leavenworth from the Big Y junction of US 2 & US 97 near Dryden peaked at over 2 hours as the 4:30 p.m. “lighting” drew near. If you plan on traveling that direction please allow plenty of time. Festival traffic begins building shortly after noon.


WSU Winter Break

Electronic sign messages on SR 26 have been operating all week for those traveling for the start of winter break, December 17 (tomorrow). #BeSafeCougs


At US 395 West of Othello: DROWSY? TAKE A BREAK

They will be in place again January 4-8 when classes start again.

Holiday Travel Graphs

No matter what your travel plans, being prepared for winter conditions and holiday traffic will help make your trip smoother. We urge all travelers to “know before you go”.

Christmas on a Monday, creating a three day weekend, are rare – the last one was 11 years ago in 2006 – but traffic analysts have used historical data to produce travel time charts predicting this year’s heaviest travel times on I-5, I-90 and US 2. (Know that a sudden snowstorm will affect the projections).

US 2 - Stevens Pass to Leavenworth

No congestion, but expect moderate to heavy traffic during the following times:

• Eastbound—Friday, 12/22, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Saturday, 12/23, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday, 12/24, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.; and Monday, 12/25, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
• Westbound—Friday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday from noon to 3 p.m.; and Monday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

I-90 - North Bend to Cle Elum

No congestion, but expect moderate to heavy traffic during the following times:

• Eastbound—Friday, 12/22, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 12/23, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Sunday, 12/24, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
EB I90
• Westbound—Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday from noon to 4 p.m.; Sunday noon to 2 p.m.; and Monday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
WB I90

We provide several other tools to help plan your holiday travels:


On December 12 Douglas County Engineering received the Washington State Department of Transportation award for Best County Project for the Chief Joseph Dam Bridge Replacement. This project replaced the wooden 1958 Chief Joseph Dam Bridge with a 240 foot-long concrete bridge, the longest free-span structure on a local roadway in the state.
from left to right:
Paul Mahre – WSDOT Local Programs Engineer for North Central Region
Aaron Simmons – Douglas County Project Manager
Mitch Reister – Douglas County Engineer
Kathleen Davis- WSDOT State Local Programs Division Director
Dan Mathis – Federal Highway Administration-Washington State Division Administrator


Highway Avalanche Search and Rescue (HAVSAR)

Our North Central Region Avalanche crew held a day of HAVSAR training today at our Stevens Pass “Berne” maintenance facility. The training was not only for WSDOT employees, but those who work in the snow for other state and local agencies on the pass.

The course covered safety, logistics, policies, procedures, avalanche awareness, rescue management, skills/tools training (beacons / probes / shoveling), and an avalanche scenario exercise.
The participation increases every year, as does the range of training to include new techniques and equipment.


Swapping a Viaduct for a Tunnel

2017 was a tremendous year for progress on the SR 99 tunnel to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct. A new video has been prepared along with a web post with more details about the work accomplished during this breakthrough year.

Happy Holidays and 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:

Leadership team