Transportation

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Viaduct Replacement
12:09 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

Bertha To Get Send-Off Before Burrowing Below Seattle

Credit Flickr Photo/WSDOT

Very soon, a massive piece of machinery will start to burrow two miles out from Seattle. It’s building the tunnel that will replace the Alaskan way viaduct.

Tomorrow, WSDOT is hosting a big sendoff for the biggest tunneling machine in the world, affectionately named Bertha. The public is invited to check it out Saturday between 11:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., provided closed-toed shoes are worn.

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New Bike Lanes
8:47 am
Mon July 15, 2013

Cycle Tracks Debut In North Seattle

The green boxes at driveways remind bicyclists using the new cycle track on Linden Avenue to watch out for cars that may be backing into the street.
Flickr Photo/Seattle Department of Transportation

The city’s first cycle tracks have been installed in North Seattle. They’re designated bike lanes, separated from car traffic by a parking strip and located on Linden Avenue, a quiet side street just off Aurora Avenue North.

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Threats To Infrastructure
8:31 am
Mon July 15, 2013

Bridges In Washington Suffer Repeated Hits

The southbound Highway 101-Simpson Avenue bridge between Hoquiam and Aberdeen is one of the most hit bridges in Washington, and it is also considered fracture-critical.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

There are more than 200 bridges in Washington that could collapse if a key part fails. They’re classified as being fracture-critical, just like the Interstate 5 span that plummeted into the Skagit River in May after it was hit by an oversized load. Out of those fracture-critical bridges, at least three others have been struck multiple times in the past five years. Experts say repeated bridge strikes can potentially cause catastrophic problems.

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Weekend Traffic Closure
11:27 am
Thu July 11, 2013

I-405 And SR-520 Closed This Weekend

Northbound I-405 will be closed this weekend to replace hundreds of broken concrete panels.
Credit 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.

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Ferry Rate Changes
5:51 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

Proposal: Half-Price Youth Fares On Wash. State Ferries

The Washington State Ferries' M/V Quinault approaches the Keystone landing on Whidbey Island.
Credit Flickr Photo/A. Davey

Correction 7/9/13: A previous version of this story erroneously stated that on the Seattle-Bainbridge ferry, the peak season, round-trip fare for a car and driver would go up $0.90 to $17.30. That total was a one-way fare. In fact, the round-trip fare would increase $1.80, to $34.60.

If you ride the Washington State Ferries, prepare to pay a bit more. The Washington State Transportation Commission wants to increase fares by about six percent within the next year. The commission says the rate hike is needed to meet revenue targets set by the legislature in the 2013-2015 transportation budget.

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Car Talk
12:04 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

Why Don’t Americans Choose Diesel?

Flickr Photo/Jeff Turner

  Only three percent of American cars are diesel, a fraction compared to 50 percent of European cars, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association. Gasoline has always been the choice of fuel for Americans. But popular car makers like Audi, Chevrolet and Mazda are offering more diesel options this year. KUOW’s Arwen Nicks talked with Mark Rechtin, West Coast editor for Automotive News to ask why Americans avoid diesel.

Failed Transportation Bill
12:05 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

Troubled Bridge Over Oregon And Washington’s Waters

Flickr Photo/Robert Gaskin

The Washington state budget was signed by Governor Inslee yesterday without the $10 billion transportation deal. That’s fatal news for the Columbia River Crossing — a bridge that would link Portland, Or. to Vancouver, Wash. Ross Reynolds talks with Salem Correspondent Chris Lehman about why the bridge failed and what that means for Oregon.

Failed Washington Legislation
11:29 am
Mon July 1, 2013

Transportation Package Fails To Pass

  The Washington state legislature failed to pass a transportation package this past weekend. With the recent collapse of the Skagit Bridge at the forefront of our minds, we take a look at what this means for current and future transportation projects in the state. Ross Reynolds hears from Dan O'Neal, the chairman of the Washington State Transportation Committee.

Transportation In The Balance
4:54 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

Seattle Leaders Want Transportation Package Approved

Seattle area leaders gathered Friday to urge state lawmakers to pass the transportation budget before the end of the legislative session.

King County Executive Dow Constantine said a new transportation budget is long overdue. He added that the state’s transit health and economic vitality depends on it.

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Paying To Drive
4:21 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

Bridge Toll Rate Hike Takes Effect

A former toll booth on I-90 in 1940.
Flickr Photo/WSDOT

New toll rates for the Highway 520 floating bridge and the Tacoma Narrows Bridge take effect July 1. The increase is the latest toll hike and has been part of the plan since the tolls were put on the bridges.

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Your Take On The News
10:00 am
Fri June 28, 2013

Decisions From The Supreme Court, Wendy Davis, And Avoiding A Government Shutdown

Weekday's “News in Review” roundtable comes together to talk over the week’s news.

It was a big week at the Supreme Court. The justices struck down provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and decided the federal Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional. A filibuster by Wendy Davis rocked the Texas legislature, stopping a vote on an abortion bill. The bill will be revisited in the second special session Gov. Rick Perry called.

Washington's own legislature's second session budget problems still divide the floor; but issues will need to be resolved soon to avoid a government shut down on July 1.

What stories caught your attention? What hasn’t been covered enough? What story made your blood boil? Share your thoughts with the panel right now by emailing Weekday.

Road Safety
9:06 am
Thu June 27, 2013

The Toll Of Traffic Collisions In Washington

Washington residents always eagerly anticipate the summer months. But with warmer, dryer weather also comes a spike in impaired-driver collisions.
Flickr Photo/HeatherHeatherHeather

Summer’s almost here and more people are headed outside: that means more accidents. Statistics show that more road collisions happen during the dry season. Each year, about two million Americans are injured or killed in traffic crashes. For those who survive, picking up the pieces can be hard.

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Complexities Of Driving A Big Rig
8:45 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Truck Driving School Ride Along

Instructor Randy Dean and student Sarah Purrington.
KUOW Photo/Derek Wang

It’s been about a month since a truck hauling an oversized load struck an I-5 bridge and sent it plunging into the Skagit River. Truckers have a tough job navigating infrastructure challenges such as obsolete bridges and increasingly congested highways. To learn more about the challenges, KUOW’s Derek Wang went to trucking school.

Failed Bridges In Washington

The I-5 Skagit River bridge collapse is just one of a number of major bridge failures in Washington's history. Washington is home to four of the nation's 11 floating bridges, two of which have sunk.

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9:09 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Washington Bridges Perform Well Nationally

Lead in text: 
There's a lot of water in Washington state, and therefore a lot of bridges. Transportation for America put together the numbers of structurally deficient bridges by state county and compared Washington to the rest of the country. There's good news: Washington is ranked 46 out of 51 states (including Washington, D.C.) in structurally deficient bridges. Pennsylvania performed the worst with 24.5 percent of bridges considered deficient.
Visualizing the numbers Did you know that in another ten years, one in four bridges will be 65 years old or older? And today, almost 50 percent of bridges of that age are structurally deficient? In the minute it'll take you to view this full infographic with more facts like that, another 180,000 trips will be taken on deficient bridges.
I-5 Bridge Collapse
5:19 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

NTSB Releases Preliminary Report On The Skagit River Bridge Collapse

A visualization of the temporary fix for the I-5 bridge.
Flickr Photo/WSDOT

Federal investigators released a preliminary report Tuesday about last month’s I-5 bridge collapse over the Skagit River. The report says the driver of the truck that struck the bridge before it fell had moved over closer to the edge of the bridge because of a passing truck.

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