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Good things come to those who wait

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What’s next for the North Spokane CorridorBy Ryan Overton

Over the past two weeks, we’ve told you about the history of the North Spokane Corridor (NSC), and where the project is at today. Now it’s time to prepare for what’s to come, including its completion! 

We know, we know. We’ve heard plenty of people say it will never get finished. But it will. And sooner than you probably think.

Picking up momentum
Think of the NSC like the Tortoise and the Hare. It has been 18 years since it first broke ground in 2001. It took 11 years to open the first 5½ miles to traffic and since then, we haven’t opened any new roadway as part of the project. That’s the tortoise part, but remember, the tortoise wins in the end. While seven years have passed since a new stretch of highway opened, work has been consistently moving forward with small projects waiting for funding.

Last week we mentioned the missing puzzle piece – the second Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) railroad realignment – which will open t…

When it comes to reducing roadside litter, listen to the kids

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Four winners selected in Adopt-A-Highway litter bag art contestBy Barbara LaBoe

With our elementary school litter bag art contest complete, one thing is clear: Our messaging is about to get quite a creative boost!

We asked children in grades 1 to 6 to send us artwork for new Adopt-A-Highway litter bags and we were thrilled to see the great artwork. And, just as exciting, were the creative ways students came up with sharing our litter prevention messages.

Our crews, along with our invaluable Adopt-a-Highway volunteers, clear about 600 tons of trash off of more than 18,000 miles of state roadways every year. Despite that effort, roadside litter remains an ongoing problem and concern. And the easiest way to tackle the problem is to prevent the trash from getting to the roadways in the first place.

So, we asked our state's student artists to lend us a hand in spreading the prevention message. It wasn't an easy decision picking among almost 100 entries, but our judges ultimately sel…

Community forum kicks off planning for a new regional trail

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By Samantha DeMars-Hanson

Tacoma to Puyallup Regional Trail Route Analysis to plan implementation for the future trail connection

One of our keys to building and maintaining a healthy multimodal transportation system is creating safe infrastructure for everyone regardless of how they choose to get around.

That’s why we’re excited that efforts to develop a regional bicycle and pedestrian trail between Tacoma and Puyallup received a big boost with a Tacoma to Puyallup Regional Trail Route Analysis to assess three options for connecting the two cities. This connection will bridge a major gap in the vision to create a broader Tahoma to Tacoma Regional Trail network.

Want to learn more? Great! We’re co-hosting a public event from 5:30-8 p.m. on Thursday, June 27 at the Pioneer Park Pavilion (330 S. Meridian in Puyallup).

The evening will begin with an informal open house at 5:30 p.m. and will also include a presentation from mayors Kim Roscoe of Fife and John Palmer of Puyallup as well as Secr…

Westbound US 2 trestle closures return this summer

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By Frances Fedoriska

Update
The closure of westbound US 2 scheduled 7 p.m. Friday, June 21 to 4 a.m. Monday, June 24 is postponed due to low overnight temperatures and forecasted inclement weather. The closure is rescheduled for 7 p.m. Friday, June 28 to 4 a.m. Monday, July 1. The same weekend that Buzz, Woody and friends return in Toy Story 4, contractor crews with Lakeside Industries return to the US 2 preservation project that a year ago came so close to completing the repaving of both directions of the highway between Lake Stevens and Everett.

Where we’re at

We did get plenty done last year, setting us up well for what’s still to come.

On eastbound US 2, we:
Removed old, cracked, rutted and pothole-riddled asphalt from the eastbound lanesRepaved one mile from State Route 204 to Bickford Avenue during overnight closuresSide note: the eastbound trestle is made of newer concrete, so no repaving happened there.On westbound US 2, we:
Repaved 2½ miles from Bickford Avenue to near the Snohom…

A different approach for an I-90 facelift near Ritzville

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By Ryan Overton

While many construction projects around the state are just getting underway, crews are close to wrapping up work on I-90 between SR 21 and Ritzville. And on this project, we tried something a little different.

Stone Matrix Asphalt. No, it doesn't involve Keanu Reeves – though that would be amazing – but it's still pretty cool. But more on that in just a bit.

The last time this stretch of I-90 – covering about 10½ miles – had a full pavement grind and inlay of asphalt was 2002. There was some minor reconstruction work in 2008 but overall the highway has remained relatively unchanged for more than 15 years. You may have noticed more wear on the road in the past couple years, with some significant rutting and cracks causing the roadway to look aged.
Typically the pavement cycle for resurfacing is about every 10 to 15 years, so 17 years is longer than normal. To extend the life of this next pavement cycle, we're using Stone Matrix Asphalt, or SMA, for the driving…

Weekend-long lane reductions coming to Aurora Bridge

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By Tom Pearce

Ah, another summer, another round of weekend-long lane reductions in Seattle for repaving. This year the closures will take place on the State Route 99 George Washington Bridge, aka the Aurora Bridge. It’s part of a larger preservation project that includes painting the bridge.

Our contract with Liberty Maintenance allows for paving for up to 10 weekends. These weekends include around-the-clock lane reductions on the bridge. This leaves just one lane open in each direction. The first lane reduction begin at 7 p.m. Friday, May 31, and will last until 5 a.m. Monday, June 3. Other weekend lane reductions scheduled so far are:
June 14-17June 28-July 1July 12-15Aug. 9-12, 16-19 and 23-26Bridge vs. land

Paving a bridge is different than paving on land. When there’s solid ground underneath, we can grind off the old pavement and leave it ground for a few days, then repave it a few nights later.

Bridges have layers – the Aurora Bridge has steel beams and stringers supporting the…

New signs on eastbound I-90 in Snoqualmie

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By Nicole Daniels

If you regularly travel on eastbound Interstate 90 between Preston and Snoqualmie, you are probably aware of the frequent backups near the State Route 18 off-ramp during peak commute periods. Although construction to improve the I-90/SR 18 interchange is scheduled to start in 2021, we're continuing to implement low-cost improvements to manage congestion and improve safety in the interim.

Recently, contractor crews from Northeast Electric, LLC installed two new active warning signs on eastbound I-90 just west of the SR 18 off-ramp. The first sign is approximately two miles before the I-90/SR 18 interchange, and the second sign is about a mile before the interchange. These signs will be activated in summer 2019.

The signs are wired to automatically turn on when traffic ahead is slowed or stopped, giving drivers more time to slow down in order to prevent rear-end collisions.

Previous improvements
Like this sign, we've also implemented many other low-cost improvement…