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Semi-Annual Reports to WSDOT

Semi-Annual Project Delivery Report
With data from Federal Fiscal Year 2015 Quarters 3 & 4 (April 1 - September 30, 2015)
Issue XVIII, November 5, 2015


The WSDOT/FHWA/National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) programmatic biological assessment (PBA) for Endangered Species Act (ESA) consultations has already proven to be a remarkable success for all stakeholders. At an estimated cost savings of $26,000 per formal consultation, an anticipated 40 projects per year will save more than $1 million annually! FHWA expects the timetables for fish passage (culvert) projects driven by legal requirements to drive the number of projects up, so $1 million in savings may be a low estimate.

To add to these successes, US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) joins NMFS and FHWA as the latest agency on board with programmatic ESA consultations in Washington. A biological opinion sealed the deal on July 2nd, concluding a two-year effort among the agencies — the lifespan of the programmatic with USFWS is 17 years, supporting the court-mandated fish passage program.


The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is developing policies and procedures for implementing practical design. To assist with this effort, WSDOT, the FHWA WA Division, the FHWA Office of Infrastructure, and the Resource Center arranged two sessions of the FHWA PBPD workshop as well as a briefing for WSDOT Executives. One regional workshop was delivered in Yakima on May 19 to 40 WSDOT and Washington Division staff members. A second workshop attended by 82 WSDOT and Division staff members was held in Olympia on May 20. The Division was given a briefing May 21, with an executive briefing presented to 20 WSDOT executives and Division leadership in the afternoon. The workshops and executive briefing were well received and provided WSDOT with assurance that FHWA supports its effort to implement practical design and will assist in its implementation.


The Division Administrator, Assistant Division Administrator, Field Operations Team Leader, and Area Engineers recently completed visits to four of WSDOT’s six Regions for annual partnering listening sessions.A majority of the discussions centered around Connecting Washington projects and the impact on workload and schedules over the next few years.The Division wanted to know how FHWA could help deliver these projects, as well as current projects.We heard about areas that needed improvement and successes in our partnership.couple of specific areas of identified need included environmental training and assistance and support in the implementation of Practical Design / Solutions.

We also shared FHWA's opportunities for innovation funding (Every Day Counts [EDC]) annual funding of $100,000 and the Accelerated Innovation Deployment [AID] Grants) and the Division’s work plan for the coming year.(Refer to the back page for more information!) In addition, we discussed some changes to stewardship and oversight with FHWA's new risk-based approach. listening sessions have occurred for more than 10 years and continue to be a great opportunity to hear from you, our partners and customers, on how we can provide assistance and enhance our relationship to deliver projects efficiently and effectively to Washington’s citizens and the country’s traveling public.

Approval of Emergency Relief Damage Inspection Reports

This chart shows the timeliness of FHWA Washington Division approval for emergency relief (ER) damage inspection reports. Our goal is to approve 90% of these reports within 10 days of receipt. ER reports that exceed 16 days typically are delayed due to external permits and other factors.

Approvals / Actions

Environmental Approvals

Design Approvals

ROW Administrative Settlement e-Learning Course Launching Soon

WSDOT and FHWA Washington Division have created an e-Learning class on how to prepare Right-of-Way (ROW) Administrative Settlement Documentation. This course was created in response to a FHWA process review that recommended improved training. The course was designed to provide free training for practitioners and decision makers to improve the quality of administrative settlement documentation for federal-aid projects. When the course is launched in the near future, it will be housed on the WSDOT Local Programs ROW Services webpage.


Big trucks don’t always mix well with bicycles and pedestrians. That was the premise for the “Multimodal Non-Motorized Traffic Large Vehicle Safety Assessment” in Seattle. The May 7 event in Seattle’s “SoDo” district brought together the freight community, bicycle and pedestrian advocates, the City of Seattle, WSDOT, trucking, and USDOT agencies: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), Federal Transit Administration (FTA), Federal Rail Administration (FRA), and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

Participants conducted assessments by bus and truck ride-alongs, or by bicycling the route. Everyone enjoyed the“truck no-zone” and “smart bus” displays. Best practice presentations provided opportunity for feedback. The event wrapped up with an optional bike ride. The video of the Safety Assessment is posted on FHWA YouTube—https://youtu.be/2J1cIm3zN9I. The full-length SoDo ride video is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMxVcQeCzFI. The FHWA WA Division and WSDOT plan to conduct mini bicycle-pedestrian safety assessments in each WSDOT Region over the next eight months.


Authorized Within 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
0 to 5 Days 1936 1791 1655 2129 1879 2171
6 to 10 Days 131 41 35 122 123 134
11 to 15 Days 18 7 1 7 9 17
16 to 20 Days 3 2 0 0 0 1
20 + Days 1 0 0 0 0 0
TOTALS 2089 1841 1691 2258 2011 2323

The table above reflects the number of FHWA Washington Division authorizations / modifications approved within certain timeframes since FY2010. Since FY 2013, our overall approval within a two-week turnaround has been 99-100%, far exceeding our goal of 90%! (Note: The Federal Fiscal Year is October 1 through September 30.)

Inactive Percentages and Total Number of Inactive Projects

FHWA’s quarterly target: under 2% inactivity on obligated federal funds. Washington State exceeded that goal in the 3rd and 4th quarters or federal fiscal year 2015 due to some unique financing issues. The quarterly inactive percentage is found by dividing all projects inactive (no expenditures processed) for 12 months or more by each state’s annual apportionments.


In July, USDOT Secretary Foxx awarded Washington State $1 million through FHWA’s Every Day Counts Accelerated Innovation Deployment (AID) Program. The I-5 Olympia Light Emitting Diode (LED) Adaptive Roadway Lighting System project converts a 7-mile interstate lighting system to a more sustainable LED Adaptive Roadway Lighting System while expanding the use of remotely managed, adaptive controls.The system will accelerate the use of LED systems by testing public acceptance while improving the sustainability, efficiency, and service life of the system as part of the corridor infrastructure.

WSDOT uses high-pressure sodium (HPS) lighting on most of its roadways, spending almost$3.9 million statewide annually on illumination costs.This project would significantly decrease the state'sand maintenance costs for this section of roadway and provide adequate lighting during changing traffic conditions. The adaptive systemoperators to adjust light levels (dimming) and turn off selected lights remotely during specific traffic conditions.Adaptive LED Roadway Lightinglight toward the roadway as effectively as high-output HPS lighting while allowing strategic management when and where light is needed.grant follows a $750,000 AID grant made in January 2015 to document WSDOT’s project delivery process using “LEAN” methodology.

(See article at bottom of page for more information on AID grants!)


Elk numbers in the Skagit River Valley have increased in recent years. Elk-vehicle collisions peaked in 2012, with 57 elk killed in a 20-mile segment of highway between Sedro Woolley and Concrete.The hazards associated with these large animals on busy roads are significant to the traveling public. Currently, select elk are fitted with global positioning system (GPS) radio telemetry collars to provide nearly real time location information on herds in all parts of the valley along Highway 20. The data explain how elk move about the landscape and where and when they cross the highway.Using these data, a radar system funded through the EDC State Transportation Innovation Council (STIC) that focuses on driver behavior will be installed at a targeted location with a high frequency of elk-vehicle collisions.When elk are near the road, fitted GPS radio telemetry collars will activate flashing beacons on a roadside warning sign.

As part of the study, motion-triggered game trail cameras will provide an additional means to detect elk approaching and crossing the highway. Finally, a high-resolution thermal camera will capture images of all objects that trigger the flashing warning beacons.The focus of this project is to analyze vehicle speeds in response to the beacons’ activity.


Since September 2014, FHWA has awarded $33.8 million nationwide in Accelerated Innovated Deployment (AID) Demonstration grants (with a maximum of $1 million per project).

More information is also available at https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/innovation/grants/

For more information on ways to participate in the EDC program, contact Nancy Boyd (360-705-7272; boydn@wsdot.wa.gov) or Matthew Enders (360-705-6907; endersm@wsdot.wa.gov). 

For more information contact:
Dan Mathis
Division Administrator
FHWA Washington Division
Sharleen Bakeman
Transportation Specialist - Planning
FHWA Washington Division
Green Washington State with Department of Transportation Emblem
Page last modified on January 31, 2017
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