transportation

The ferry Tacoma, undergoing tests before going back into service. "Needs a paint job" observed Lynne Griffith, the ferries chief.
KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

The ferry Tacoma returned to service last weekend, ending an eight-month hiatus in the repair shop.

Last July, the ferry suffered a power failure and went adrift on the Seattle-to-Bainbridge Island route. Its loss created a cascade of service failures, showing the stress in the state’s ferry system.

The hole built to rescue Bertha, the deep boring machine.
WSDOT webcam

Engineers have removed the cutter head from the enormous tunneling machine nicknamed Bertha. The malfunctioning part had been stuck for more than a year in a highway project under Seattle's downtown.

Flickr Photo/WSDOT

KUOW's Ross Reynolds speaks with Jon Talton, Seattle Times economics columnist,  about the local consequences of the United States lagging behind other countries on infrastructure investment.

Updated at 10:05 a.m. ET.

Andreas Lubitz, the co-pilot of the Germanwings plane that crashed in the French Alps last week with 150 passengers on board, received treatment for suicidal tendencies for several years before he became a pilot, a German prosecutor says.

Christoph Kumpa, a spokesman for Duesseldorf investigators, says Lubitz "had been in treatment of a psychotherapist because of what is documented as being suicidal at that time."

Updated at 11:05 a.m. ET

The co-pilot who deliberately downed an airliner over the French Alps this week, killing all 150 aboard, had told a girlfriend sometime last year that he would "do something" that would make people remember his name, a German newspaper reports.

The crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 into the French Alps earlier this week appears to have been a deliberate act carried out by a co-pilot.

It is too soon to put the label "suicide" on the co-pilot's actions. Not enough is known yet about his state of mind or what his motivation might have been. But as investigations continue, the incident raises questions about whether better mental health screening can prevent a person with suicidal tendencies from taking charge in the cockpit in the first place.

Updated at 8:53 a.m. ET

Prosecutors in Duesseldorf, Germany, say Andreas Lubitz, the co-pilot of Germanwings Flight FU 9525, who appears to have deliberately crashed the plane carrying 150 people into the French Alps, concealed a medical condition from his employers.

Updated at 3:15 p.m. ET

The co-pilot of Germanwings Flight 4U 9525 appears to have deliberately crashed the plane carrying 150 people into the French Alps after the pilot had left the cockpit, Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin said at a news conference Thursday.

Oregon lawmakers came into the session revved up about the need for new revenue to pay for improvements to roads and bridges.

This post was last updated at 1:51 p.m.

French investigators say they are examining the cockpit voice recorder of Germanwings Flight 4U 9525, which crashed in the French Alps on Tuesday, killing all 150 people onboard.

Remi Jouti, head of France's bureau of investigations and analysis, said at a news conference that the orange voice recorder was found mangled, but viable.

This post was last updated at 5:35 p.m.

An Airbus A320 aircraft operated by Germanwings, Lufthansa's low-cost subsidiary, crashed in the French Alps today, likely killing all 150 people on board, French officials said. Germanwings said Flight 4U 9525 was traveling from Barcelona, Spain, to Duesseldorf, Germany.

As night fell on the area, French authorities called off the search operations.

Paris has banned cars with license plates ending in even numbers from its roads today to reduce smog that last week briefly made the City of Lights among the world's most polluted places.

NPR's Eleanor Beardsley, who is reporting on the story for our Newscast unit, says the Paris Metro and other public transportation are free for the next few days to encourage people to use them. The ban on cars doesn't extend to electric, hybrid or emergency vehicles.

One section of Bertha's front body now sits on the ground near the rescue pit.
AP Photo/Ted Warren

A 270-ton section of Bertha’s front body now lies on the ground in downtown Seattle, ready for workers to add steel reinforcing. The Seattle Tunnel Partners hopes to lay the tunnel borer's cutter head nearby in a couple of weeks. 

They’ll be repaired so workers can complete the tunnel that’s replacing the Alaskan Way Viaduct. KUOW’s Joshua McNichols went to Pioneer Square to see how people are feeling about Bertha these days.

Do you travel a la mode? Seattle Mayor Ed Murray unveiled a plan to end what he called the "mode wars."
Flickr Photo/Ann and Tim (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Seattleites have many travel options, but sometimes those options clash.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray hopes to change that with a $900 million transportation levy being floated to voters this fall. Murray says his plan, called Move Seattle, would not perpetuate what he calls the mode wars.

Work lights shined above the bustling site of the SR 520 Pontoon Construction Project during the first float-out on July 30, 2012.
Flickr Photo/WSDOT (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks with Washington state Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson about recent accidents at the sites of state transportation projects.

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