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North Central Region NewsBrief


July 14, 2017

 In this issue:

o  On the Road

o  Follow-up File

o  Behind the Curtain

o  News

                                    On the Road                                                                                    


Saturday 7/15, Train Concert atthe Gorge Amphitheater

Saturday and Sunday, 7/15-16, Share the Road with2,000 bicyclists and marathoners on US 97A and SR 971 participating in the Chelan Man Triathlon. Expect some intermittent closures at those intersections.

Towards the end of the week the RedSpoke bicycle tour will also be comingthrough our region on July 20-21 (Redmond to Spokane on US 2).

Orange Cones

SR 20 Loup Loup Closure

MP 211 before paving

Thethirteen-week total closure of SR 20 over the Loup ended quietly Monday morning.  All week flaggers controlled traffic from 6 to 9 a.m. and 4 to 8 p.m. to accommodate commuters.  Today at 4 p.m. (7/14) we opened the highway around the clock and only a section at MP 221 will have a temporary traffic signal controlling traffic through a single lane for the next few weeks. The other 8 washout damage locations are repaired and most have guardrail and stripes.Besides the work at 221 where a washout occurred, finish work throughout the zone will continue into August, so expect to encounter crews occasionally.  There is still earthwork off the shoulders being done, new signs going up, etc.

MP 221

You can check the status of work for the nine damage locations on the project webpage:


The region chip seal project moves to US 2 through Tumwater Canyon on Monday.  From July 17 to August 31, motorists can expect 20 minute delays between the bridge at the top of the Canyon and Leavenworth, Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. No work is scheduled Friday through Sunday  The work begins with crack sealing and asphalt pre-level patching.  When that’s complete, the actual chip sealing follows. Then there’s about a week of finish work including rumble strips,reflective pavement markers, dilineators and guardrail, signs and stripes.

Check our Region’s Weekly Construction Update and Travel Advisory for specifics on all the projects underway.

WorkUnderway in adjacent regions - on Snoqualmie & West of Stevens Pass:

If you are heading to Western Washington this weekend, here is a 3 min. WSDOT youtube video you’ll be glad you watched.

Follow-up File

The paver through Winthrop was completed Thursday.With the winter that wouldn’t end, the project start was delayed several timesby weather and breaks to accommodate the 49er’ Days and the Fourth ofJuly.

Looking ahead for Methow Valley residents, there’s more crack seal maintenance on SR 153 as well as major bridge column repairs coming yet this summer.

Behind theCurtain 

Two New Work Zone Safety Tools

WorkZone Rumble Strips

We work hard designing work zones to give drivers plenty of notice to slow downand be alert for workers.  To help get drivers attention, this spring, North Central Region maintenance crews tested temporary portable rumble strips on a guardrail job on SR 28. They are installed between the work zone signs and our workers.  This gives driver another heads up that something is different and that they need to slow down and be extra alert. With distracted driving on the rise, crews say they have seen good results using the rumble strips to catch the attention of drivers who otherwise were not focusing on the work zone or the road ahead of them.

Temporary rumble strips aren’t new, but previous versions were too heavy and cumbersome to use on many job sites. The new version comes in three pieces, so they are lighter and easier to install. That gives our crews more options and increases safety for both our workers and passing motorists.

Balloons in a Work Zone?

Another tool keeping crews and drivers safe are LED balloon lights.

These portable lights are made of a stiff fabric and inflate with LED lights inside,illuminating night work zones. Because they are lightweight and do not require a trailer, balloon lights can be placed closer to our workers and are easily moved. They also reduce the risk of glare for passing motorists and help approaching drivers see crews and the work zone sooner.

National News 

Work Zone Crisis: 44 Percent of Contractors Report Vehicle Crashes at Construction Sites

Ina new nationwide report that starkly highlights the risk to workers as well as motorists in highway work zones, 44 percent of roadway contractors said vehicles had crashed into their construction sites in the past year, for a 13 percent jump from 2016. There was an equivalent spike in construction worker deaths.


Our friends at the Utilities and Transportation Commission have asked us to help spread the word about the new 564 area code coming to Western Washington in two weeks:

564 will be assigned to new numbers in the 360 area code starting July 29, extending to 206, 253, and 425 area codes later.

Beginning July 29, all West side callers used to only dialing 7 digits to make a call in their own area code, will have to dial all 10 digits including the area code, when making local calls.

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 LeadershipTeam:

      Leadership team