- Briefing Room
U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
On July 3, FHWA and the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) signed the Environmental Assessment (EA) for the I-405 Tukwila to I-90 Express Toll Lanes (ETL) Project. This project is part of the I-405 Master Plan and is a component of a larger plan to implement ETLs to reduce congestion and improve safety performance along one of the state’s most congested sections of highway.
On July 12, the Washington Division signed a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the I-405 Downtown Bellevue ETLs Project. The project will add a new ETL on I-405 from just north of the I-90 interchange to the NE 4th Street interchange and convert the existing HOV lane(s) to ETL. The new lane, coupled with the converted HOV lane(s), will create a dual ETL up to NE 4th Street and a single ETL through the NE 6th Interchange. The project will connect to the existing ETLs currently in operation on the north end of I-405 from the City of Bellevue to the City of Lynnwood. The project will also build a new section of trail to connect to the existing Eastside Rail Corridor Regional Trail and build a new bridge for the trail over southbound I-405. In addition, the project will widen the I-405 overpass at SE 8th Street. The purpose of the project is to provide a reliable trip choice for I-405 users, increase vehicle capacity and person throughput, improve reliability for transit, reduce project-wide congestion, and improve safety performance.
FHWA is establishing a new Special Experimental Project–16 (SEP-16) to test and evaluate the delegation of programlevel responsibilities of the federal-aid highway program to States, including the appropriate steps States should take to request to exercise delegated authority. FHWA anticipates there is interest in State assumption of program-level actions for approval of design standards, noise policies, preventative maintenance programs, and real property acquisitions and disposals. The term “program-level actions” in this context means decisions that apply generally to projects in a State and broadly affect the implementation of the federal-aid highway program in the State, but excludes Federal decisions relating to eligibility, obligation, reimbursement, authorization, and compliance. Entities eligible to submit letters (“Applicants”) are State DOTs as defined in 23 U.S.C. 101. Letters of Interest should be submitted to the appropriate FHWA Division Office. If you have an SEP-16 idea please contact the appropriate WSDOT HQs office to discuss.
On July 19, the Washington Division signed a Highway Easement Deed transferring property under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to WSDOT for the construction of the Wildcat Creek Bridge project on US 12 near White Pass. The need for this Federal Land Transfer (FLT) was to enable the replacement of a bridge that was built in 1936 and determined to be structurally deficient. FHWA determined this project, which was not federally-funded, had a strong federal transportation interest and could process the transfer under 23 U.S.C. 317. This determination, which was made with the consent of the USFS, enabled the project to move forward under an aggressive schedule that would avoid a major shutdown of the detour road during the 2018-19 winter season.
One of the additional benefits coming out of this project was the creation, by the Division Office, of a template for processing FLTs where there is no federal funding in the project but a “strong Federal transportation interest”, pursuant to 23 CFR 710.601(a), is determined to exist.
Access Breaks = Two (2) approved for Sound Transit’s Lynnwood Link Extension project
Change Orders = Nine (9) approved for the Alaskan Way Viaduct (AWV) Tunnel Replacement project Construction Inspections = Two (2) on the I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East project (Phase IC and 2A) Design Approvals = 24 for various projects throughout the state
Environmental Approvals = 29 (DCEs, ESA, 4(f), 106, etc.) for various projects throughout the state
Financial Plan Updates = One (1) for the AWV Tunnel Replacement project
Interchange Justification Reports = Two (2) (one for the SR-902 Medical Lake Interchange Signalization and one for the I-5 / Bakerview Interchange Modification projects)
Temporary Construction = One (1) approved for Sound Transit’s Federal Way Link Extension project
April 2018 – Peer Exchange on Nuisance Flooding. The City of Olympia presented information about the frequency of inundation of large parts of downtown Olympia projected in the not-too-distant future. There was also discussion of the role Emergency Relief (ER) may play in projects aimed at responding to nuisance ﬂooding.
Spring 2018 — Annual Right-of-Way Workshops. The Division Right-of-Way Program Manager assisted Local Programs in conducting this annual training for Local Public Agencies (LPAs) and consultants in five locations around the state. For more information and/or to request this training in a specific Local Agency please contact Michelle Newlean with WSDOT Local Programs.
June 2018 – Roadway Departure Peer Exchange. FHWA’s Western Federal Lands Highway Division hosted this Peer Exchange which included participants from eight western states. Rumble strips, signs, pavement markings, the roadside, and high friction surface treatments were highlighted. A report will be prepared to recap the peer exchange.
June 2018 — Transportation Systems Management and Operations (TSMO) Program Planning Workshop. FHWA HQ and the Resource Center assisted WSDOT with understanding its TSMO capabilities and what steps it could take to mainstream those throughout the organization.
September 2018 — Temporary Construction Easements (TCE) Training. This information will assist agencies with ensuring appraisers are given the necessary project information to be able to prepare credible and reliable TCE value estimates. This training was provided to over 200 WSDOT LPA, consultant appraisers, engineers, project managers acquisition, and relocation staff.
September 2018 — Pavement Preservation Training. Provided a workshop to Local Agencies in Washington State on The Every Day Counts (EDC) IV innovation on “Pavement Preservation (When, Where, and How), a Whole-life Approach to Extending the Service Life of Pavement Networks”. The workshop was conducted on September 18 & 19 in Lacey, WA. This was the third time this workshop was conducted in Washington State — two sessions were also conducted in January of 2018.
The Washington Division conducted its annual Region visits to the Eastern, North Central, South Central, and Olympic Regions during the weeks of September 17 and 24. These visits provide an opportunity for the Division Administrator, Assistant Division Administrator, Field Operations Team Leader and Area Engineer to receive customer service feedback, learn about a Region’s needs, and provide information on the Division’s accomplishments, initiatives, and upcoming activities. The visits begin with a meeting with WSDOT Region Office Staff and typically include a project site visit. Site visits included; proposed I-90 interchange improvements in Spokane, a fish passage culvert replacement and guardrail project at Blewett Pass, and the US 12 Wildcat Creek Bridge Replacement.
The Washington Division appreciates the terrific partnership we have with the Regions and is pleased to hear that we add value in helping get through the federal-aid process to more efficiently and effectively deliver projects for Washington’s citizens.)
For two and a half days during the week of May 8, five individuals from FHWA Headquarters, Resource Center, and the Division Office conducted a program review of WSDOT’s Load Rating Program. WSDOT also had eight individuals from various offices with bridge load rating responsibilities participate. There were also three individuals from Thurston County and a consultant that conducts bridge inspections and load ratings. The review included discussion on the current state load rating program policies, procedures, and guidelines that are utilized to load rate new and existing structures within Washington. The review also included a discussion on load rating complex structures, gusset plates, connections, and superloads. A review and discussion on the load rating permitting and posting processes and procedures within the state—for WSDOT and Local Agencies—took place. At the conclusion of the review, FHWA was able to offer several exemplary practices on WSDOT’s load rating program along with a few opportunities to improve and enhance their program. WSDOT appreciated the review and is looking forward to the final summary
The Washington Division partnered with WSDOT to revise the FHWA / WSDOT Construction Monitoring Plan, and Chapter One of WSDOT’s Construction Manual. The original plan included a tiered approach for the criteria and responsibility for the project closeout process commonly referred to as “stewardship reports”. The previous version required extensive documentation of final acceptance and inspection on larger federally-funded projects, and abbreviated requirements on smaller projects. The Division interviewed Division staff, WSDOT Accounting, Program Management, and Construction staff to understand how they currently use the documentation collected. Throughout this interaction, it became clear that the stewardship reports were redundant, and there were process efficiencies to be gained. We also researched our own requirements for project closeout, then applied the minimum requirements to the current process.
The revised Construction Monitoring Plan now has the Construction Office annually publishing a list of all open federally-funded projects that extend beyond one construction season, and assigning responsibility for stewardship reporting to each WSDOT Region. Each project identified will be required to complete an interim report at 30-50% of working days in place of the tedious documentation for final inspection and acceptance. By conducting an interim review, as opposed to a report at project completion, deficiencies can be identified and corrected prior to project closure. The revised plan streamlines the project closeout process, encourages early issue detection and resolution, and results in value-added stewardship.
|For more information contact:|
FHWA Washington Division
Program Management Analyst
FHWA Oregon/Washington Division