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WSDOT releases quarterly "Gray Notebook" highlighting transportation results | News

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WSDOT releases quarterly "Gray Notebook" highlighting transportation results
News, Transportation

The latest issue of the Gray Notebook is now online showcasing Washington State Department of Transportation’s quarterly results for projects and programs. Over 100 pages of the document cover information on the statewide transportation system from bridge counts, congestion issues and updates on major construction projects.

Instead of just focussing on a bunch of numbers, the director of the strategic assessment, Daniela Bremmer, says they arrange everything in a story format as a form of journalism.

“We want to show transparency and accountability,” Bremmer said. “We are trying to illustrate and show the performance of the things we have responsibility for - the projects and program we are implementing and what the results are.”

The behind the scenes document on the state transportation system caters to different audiences including commuters, public officials and engineers.

Since the document provides an overview of statewide information, finding Spokane tidbits takes a little hunting, but we’ve located some of the key points discussing Spokane County information.

Is traffic in Spokane getting better or worse?

Traffic congestion in Spokane is moving in an unfavorable direction according to WSDOT. The average travel time on Interstate 90 both east and westbound between Argonne and Division are less than a minute, but reliable travel time in the westbound direction have deteriorated by 47 percent.

Travel time in the eastbound direction improved by 24 percent.

WSDOT calculates these times with loop detectors under the roadway to measure the time it takes for a car to pass over one and then another.

Improving the flow of traffic by clearing the scene

When there’s an accident on Interstate 90 or debris clogging up the far right lane, Incident Response teams are there to clear it up. The quarterly report says those crews are clearing the scene at a quicker rate. The average clearance from crews improved by 6 percent.

Those crews also help disabled motorists change flat tires, jump start and even make temporary repairs to help get them on the move faster. Washington State Patrol also rely on these teams to help with traffic control to reduce collisions.

Completing a portion of Spokane County’s “mega-project”

A portion of the North Spokane Corridor was completed during this quarter. The “mega-project” lowered parts of U.S. 2 and connected the roadway to Wandermere. The project completion was delayed over the winter from a November completion date. The project was completed earlier this year in June within the Nickel-funded budget of $128 million.

WSDOT says this is the halfway point for the entire corridor project to connect I-90 to Wandermere. When completed, the project should reduce commuter travel times by 60 percent to an estimated 12 minutes.

Interchange at Highway 195 and Cheney-Spokane Road on the “watch list”

On the watch list for future transportation projects, the interchange between U.S. 195 and the Cheney-Spokane Road. WSDOT says they still need to deal with a right of way issue citing “land acquisition” as the project hinderance.

The $13.2 million project is still in the design phase and is expected to reduce severe collisions by eliminating left turns.

The project was expected to go to bid in June, but was delayed further to late August. WSDOT hopes to have the interchange completed by August 2014.

What’s the oldest state bridge in Washington?

Spokane is home to the oldest documented state bridge. Along state route 290, the Trent Bridge was replaced in 2005 following a $10 million project. The original concrete arch bridge was built in 1910 over the Spokane River.

WSDOT says they’ve increased their bridge inventory by 31 since July 2011 because of new bridge constructions over their highway system.

Read the full version of the Gray Notebook below:

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