WSDOT

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.

Flickr Photo/Washington State Department of Transportation

Marcie Sillman talks with state transportation secretary Lynn Peterson about Bertha's latest condition and plans to get the world’s biggest tunnel boring machine moving again.

KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Ross Reynolds talks with Seattle Mayor Ed Murray about Bertha's continuing woes and who would ultimately be on the hook for cost overruns.

Flickr Photo/Washington State Department of Transportation

David Hyde talks with Mike Lindblom, Seattle Times transportation reporter, about why Bertha hasn't  moved since December.

Bertha is the world’s biggest tunnel boring machine that has been charged with digging out the replacement path for the Alaskan Way Viaduct under Seattle.

KUOW Photo/Patricia Murphy

So far, crews trying to determine what’s stalling the State Route 99 tunnel machine have found a hard object more than three feet wide lodged in it.

They’ve also found metal and plastic piping. But what exactly is causing the stoppage is still unknown.

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.

Photo IAM District 751

Washington Governor Jay Inslee pushed for a higher minimum wage and increased education funding during his State of the State Address this week. The state legislature kicked off its 2014 session. Also, Boeing Machinists Union President Tom Wroblewski announced his retirement.

We review these stories and more with news analyst Joni Balter, Crosscut's Knute Berger and The Stranger's Eli Sanders. Plus, we hear from Live Wire host Luke Burbank.

KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

The eyes of the nation descended on Seattle city hall this week as Mayor Ed Murray and City Councilmember Kshama Sawant took office. In one of his first acts, the mayor named Harry Bailey Seattle's new interim police chief. Also, the Washington State Department of Transportation announced the 520 bridge project will need a lot more money to get completed.

We review these stories and more with news analyst Joni Balter, The Stranger's Eli Sanders and Crosscut's Knute Berger. Plus, we hear from Live Wire host Luke Burbank.

Flickr Photo/WSDOT

A new tolling proposal would ask drivers to pay as little as $1.00 for taking the Highway 99 tunnel under downtown Seattle. During morning and evening commutes, rates would jump to $1.25. A state advisory committee is hoping the proposal will strike a balance between tolling revenues and potential traffic diversion.

Two years ago, when the tunnel plan was approved by voters, the proposed tolling rates were as high as $3.00 during peak hours. Under that plan, traffic planners were concerned that high tolling rates would divert too many cars onto downtown streets. Maud Daudon is co-chair of the Advisory Committee on Tolling and Traffic Management. She's also president and CEO of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. She talked with Ross Reynolds.

SR 520 Floating Bridge Celebrates 50 Years

Aug 27, 2013
Flickr Photo/WSDOT

August 28, 1963 was a momentous day in American history, and it was also a pretty big day in Seattle. At the same time that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was giving his landmark “I Have A Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial, then-Washington governor Albert Rosellini was also addressing a crowd. But Rosellini was in the middle of Lake Washington, on a brand-new floating bridge that would eventually be known as State Route 520.

Checking In With The Head Of WSDOT

Aug 7, 2013
Courtesy of WSDOT

Costs continue to run over for the 520 bridge project. The Washington state Legislature failed to pass a transportation package in June, and last week, the state Transportation Commission voted to increase ferry fares by 6 percent. Ross Reynolds talks about these and other transportation issues with Washington’s Secretary of Transportation Lynn Peterson.

I-405 And SR-520 Closed This Weekend

Jul 11, 2013
WSDOT

State Route 520 and northbound I-405 will be closed this weekend for inspection and repairs. Both directions of SR-520 will be closed between Montlake Boulevard and I-405 from 11:00 p.m. Friday through 5:00 a.m. Monday.

Northbound I-405 from S.E. 8th Street to SR-520 from 10:00 p.m. Friday to 4:00 a.m. Monday. The I-90 ramps to northbound I-405 will also be closed.

Meet The New Head Of WSDOT

Mar 28, 2013
Photo Courtesy/WSDOT

The new head of the Washington Department of Transportation is exploring alternate funding models for the state's transportation projects, including tolls and fees based on mileage. Lynn Peterson spoke Thursday with The Conversation's Ross Reynolds.

AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

This Friday will be Washington Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond's last day on the job after 30 years with the state department of transportation. Ross Reynolds sits down with Paula Hammond to discuss her work as the head of the department, what it was like to lead an agency of 7,200 employees, the future of Washington transportation and her legacy. 

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