- Briefing Room
U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
On the morning of July 22, 2016, a semi-truck hauling a pair of excavators hit a portion of the Chamber Way bridge that spans over southbound I-5 in Chehalis, causing significant structural damage. The structure has been hit 9 times in the last 10 years. The existing overpass was built in 1958 and does not meet modern design standards. Currently, it carries only two lanes of Chamber Way traffic and is only 14 feet 8 inches above I-5. For the safety of the traveling public, the damaged span was demolished and a 50-foot long temporary steel truss bridge was installed and is currently in place.
FHWA approved eligibility for emergency relief (ER) funds to help WSDOT with the cost of the temporary span and the permanent replacement span. Approximately $1 million has been spent on the initial emergency response, demolition, and temporary span.
The damaged span is a component of a Connecting Washington project planned for 2025 to replace the existing interchange. FHWA supported WSDOT's proposal to work with local officials and the state legislature to advance the future interchange replacement project so it can be combined with the ER work to provide a permanent overpass that meets current vertical clearance stands. This proposal would be safer, increase mobility, save time and money, and eliminate the use of temporary detour bridge, as well as permanent span that would be in place less than 10 years (minimizing throwaway work).
The U.S. Department of Transportation Appropriations Act, 2016, provided the authority for a State to repurpose earmarks under certain conditions. The authority to repurpose allows a Federal earmark to be moved to a different project. Several criteria had to be met for any earmark to be eligible for repurposing to another project. The criteria included the requirement that the repurposed funds had to be obligated on a new or existing project in the State within 50 miles of the original earmark designation. And, the project had to be eligible under the Surface Transportation Block Grant Program (STBG).
Washington submitted 93 repurposing transfer requests totaling $48.5 million. The 93 requests made up 6 percent of the nationwide amount (in dollars), and 8 percent of the nationwide transfers eligible for repurposing. The 93 transfer requests encompassed 129 federal earmarks. Fifty-two of the 93 transfer requests were from local agencies, totaling
$31.5 million. The remaining 41 transfers were for WSDOT projects, totaling $17.0 million!
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 are delayed typically due to external permits, need for additional information, and other factors.
On June 8-9, FHWA, in coordination with Transport Canada, the Transportation Border Working Group, Whatcom County MPO, and WSDOT hosted a Regional Master Planning Peer Exchange in Bellingham, WA, to focus on regional border planning efforts along the U.S.-Canada border. This peer exchange convened Federal, State, Provincial, and regional government agency practitioners from both the U.S.-Canada and U.S-Mexico border to share experiences and best practices in developing strategies for continuing national-level support of regional cross-border planning and coordination. The peer exchange included sharing of existing efforts, a tour of several border port of entry facilities, and facilitated discussions of border planning gaps and strategies
FHWA hosted the 17th of 24 Freight Roundtables nationwide in Seattle on Friday June 24, 2016. FHWA's Administrator, Greg Nadeau, was joined by Federal Railroad Administrator (FRA) Sarah Feinberg and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Acting Administrator Scott Darling. The discussion highlighted the importance and the fragility of the existing freight network. Participants were appreciative of the funding opportunities that the FAST Act freight provisions provide to improve freight movement and support economic growth. Many of the participants expressed their support for the City of Seattle's South Lander Street Overcrossing FASTLANE proposal-which received a $45 million grant from USDOT on September 7. Other themes of the discussion were concern about the safety and availability of truck parking, the need for more freight funding, and concern about the "last 50 feet" – deliveries in densely-populated urban areas. The event was held at the Seattle Chamber of Commerce.
FHWA Headquarters, Resource Center, and Washington Division Operations' staff provided resources and expertise in the development of the first ever Regional Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) Architecture for the Benton-Franklin Council of Government (BFCOG) and local agencies in the Tri-Cities, WA, region.
On April 19th, the final of two workshops was held to get feedback and finalize the Architecture. It was finalized and ready for use in May 2016. A Regional ITS Architecture is a planning-level framework for developing orderly and efficient ITS deployments in a region.
On July 7-8, Spokane, Washington was the site of the inaugural EPC Design Challenge. The two-day design session focused on ways to reconnect the community that was impacted from the construction of I-90 through the East Central neighborhood in the late 1950s, and examine ways to avoid a similar result when US 395 (North Spokane Corridor) is reconstructed in the same area of the city. Multiple stakeholders participated in the charrette including representatives of the impacted neighborhood, the City of Spokane, WSDOT, and the Washington Division Office. The in-depth sessions and workshops were facilitated by representatives of the Office of Secretary of Transportation (OST).
|0 to 5 Days||1936||1791||1655||2129||1879||2171||1582|
|6 to 10 Days||131||41||35||122||123||134||184|
|11 to 15 Days||18||7||1||7||9||17||28|
|16 to 20 Days||3||2||0||0||0||1||2|
|20 + Days||1||0||0||0||0||0||3|
The table above reflects the number of Days taken for FHWA Washington Division to approve authorizations / modifications submitted into FMIS from WSDOT. (Our S&O agreement states we will turn around requests within 5 days or less) For Fiscal Year 2016 our percentage of projects approved within 5 days or less out of a total of 1799 FMIS approvals we completed is (1582/1799) 88% within 5 days.
INACTIVE PROJECT PERCENTAGES AND TOTAL NUMBER OF INACTIVE PROJECTS
A total of 239 projects were inactive in the third and fourth quarters of 2016 (114 and 125), representing an inactive percentage of 1.4 and 2.2 respectively. FHWA's quarterly target is under 2% inactivity on obligated Federal funds. 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.
On August 23, 2016, a representative from Marine Construction Technologies (MCT) presented innovative technology developed by her company in partnership with WSDOT and FHWA to both staffs. The technology consists of two pile designs (double-walled and mandrel) that are fitted with a special driving shoe. MCT is a Public Benefit Corporation partially owned by the University of Washington which helped develop the design based on research they conducted which identified how sound waves travel down piles and refract outwards into the water column both directly and through the substrate (hydroacoustics). The MCT technology has resulted in significant noise reduction (14-20 decibels) in the marine environment and the results indicate the drivability of these pile designs is no different from standard steel pipe pile. The noise reduction from the MCT technology significantly outperformed the standard bubble curtain which achieved noise reduction of 6 decibels. MCT is partnering with a steel manufacturer to fabricate the shoe which can be welded to circular steel pipe pile. The technology is now available for use on projects.
On Tuesday, August 16, Washington Division staff represented USDOT at Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler's 2016 "Guide to Grants" Seminar held in Vancouver, Washington. Congressional Staff for Congresswoman Herrera Beutler requested FHWA make a presentation on the competitive grants in the Federal-aid program. The Washington Division Local Programs Engineer presented the different competitive grant programs available to local agencies. Twelve different Federal agencies participated in the presentation to discuss grant programs in health, rural development, transportation, and several other programs. The audience was made up of staff from local agencies and Ports. The purpose of the seminar was to inform local agencies and other local entities of the grant programs available from the different Federal agencies.
On April 2nd FHWA Administrator Greg Nadeau joined State, Local, Tribal, and Business leaders for a grand opening ceremony and ribbon-cutting on WSDOT's new State Route (SR) 520 Floating Bridge. Also, former FHWA employee, Jim Leonard, received special recognition from WSDOT for the important role he played in the project. During the past six months FHWA Washington Division provided resources and effort for the SR520 Project which included:
|For more information contact:|
FHWA Washington Division
Program Management Analyst
FHWA Oregon/Washington Division