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WSDOT

A photo from the Seattle Fire Department's Twitter feed shows  the side of a bus ripped open after a collision with a duck amphibious vehicle on the Aurora Bridge in Seattle, September 24, 2015. .
Seattle Fire Department

September 24 marks a year since the Aurora Bridge crash. That’s when a Ride the Ducks tourist vehicle broke an axle, crossed the center line and slammed into a bus of international students from North Seattle Community College. Five people died and dozens were injured.


Fatal crashes
KUOW Graphic/Kara McDermott

Traffic deaths are up in Washington state, and by a lot. Last year, 567 people lost their lives in crashes. That’s a hundred more than the previous year.

The Chetzemoka was placed in the water for the first time on March 2, 2010 in Seattle.
Flickr Photo/WSDOT (CC-BY-NC-ND) http://bit.ly/1V2AtiL

When you sink millions of dollars into a brand-new Washington state ferryboat, you hope it'll stay in good working order for years.

Progress at last on the tunnel being built to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct.
Flickr Photo/Washington State Department of Transportation CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The Alaskan Way Viaduct is back in operation after a closure that was supposed to last two weeks, but only lasted for a week and a bit.

It’s a surprise, and not the kind we are used to from Bertha, the tunnel borer that could, then couldn’t, and now apparently can. Bertha's bearings and seals were damaged early on, forcing the Seattle Tunnel Partners to haul it to the surface for a massive repair that completed just a few months ago.


View of the construction site in Kenmore at the north end of Lake Washington, April 29, 2012.
Flickr Photo/WSDOT (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/bEiMv9

People are able to drive part of the brand new 520 floating bridge Monday morning. The westbound lane is open after weeks of hype and an official ribbon cutting. But now there's an old bridge, and getting rid of that will be much less glamorous.

Paige Browning explains, there's a dispute over where to destroy it.

SR 520 Launch Party Was A Jam (And Lots Of Fun)

Apr 3, 2016
A couple poses during a staged ribbon-cutting ceremony on the new SR 520 bridge. The bridge was open to foot traffic over the weekend.
Courtesy of Chris Moore

"It's so nice and smooth."

That's how one man described the new State Route 520 bridge, which opened to foot traffic over the weekend.

You may have heard that some people were stuck on the bridge, in a foot traffic jam, waiting an hour for a shuttle to scuttle them home. But most seemed OK with the situation. They bought food from food trucks and marveled that the bike lane will extend from the Arboretum to the Eastside. 

Audio Pending...

Some of Washington state's busiest bridges have a surprising design feature deep inside their massive structures.

Republicans listed other problems with transportation in the state since Peterson took the job: Tolling on 520 across Lake Washington, Bertha, the enormous boring tunnel in Seattle that has failed to move forward, and ferries breaking down.
Associated Press Pool Photo/Joshua Trujillo/Seattlepi.com

A coup went down in Olympia this afternoon.

Surprising Democrats, Republican lawmakers called for a confirmation vote for Lynn Peterson, Secretary of Transportation for Washington state. In a party line vote of 25 to 21, they fired her.

This July 2015 photo shows the SR 99 tunneling machine’s main bearing encircled by the gear ring that facilitates rotation of the cutterhead.
Washington State Department of Transportation

Bertha, the giant tunnel boring machine stalled in downtown Seattle, remains in pieces at the foot of the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

Paving the Fairview Avenue trestle, 1924
Flickr Photo/Seattle Municipal Archives (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds speaks with civil engineer Steve Muench about the state of city and state-owned transportation infrastructure in Seattle. Also, John Buswell, road structures manager for the Seattle Department of Transportation, talks about the Fairview Avenue North bridge, Seattle's last remaining bridge built on timber supports.

Washington drivers might get to drive 75 on some rural highways.

Flickr Photo/Pipers Creek

Aging vessels are frequently blamed for problems in Washington’s ferry system. But the latest performance report says new ferries are giving the state plenty of grief.

Washington State Ferries missed its goal of keeping vessel out-of-service time to an average of eight weeks a year in 2014, and young ferries were key players.

Flickr Photo/WSDOT

She loves dirt and hates sunlight. Seattle Magazine named her one of 2013’s most influential people, except she’s not really a person. She’s Bertha, the world’s biggest tunnel boring machine, charged with digging out the replacement path for the Alaskan Way Viaduct under Seattle.

Her profile on the Washington State Department of Transportation site lists her occupation as a tunneling specialist, but right now she’s stuck and has been since December 6. In light of her current predicament, the decision to name the machine, and thus humanize it, could be a shrewd move.

The Interstate 90 backup early Tuesday morning: one scenario where being polite gets you nowhere.
Courtesy of WSDOT

Seattle area traffic jams are nothing new, but this week has been particularly trying with the construction on westbound I-90 closing all but one lane in Bellevue.

It might seem selfish, but the best way to ease congestion, according to Washington State Department of Transportation's Travis Phelps, is to drive right up to the closure before merging over.

Flickr Photo/WSDOT (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Steve Scher recaps the news of the week with Crosscut's Knute Berger, news analyst Joni Balter, The Stranger's Eli Sanders and LiveWire host Luke Burbank.

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