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Cultural Resources

WSDOT Cultural Resource Specialists (CRS)  (pdf 18 kb) help the agency comply with state and federal cultural resource laws that apply to:

  • archaeological sites
  • historic structures
  • culturally important areas 

Transportation Projects and Archaeological/Historic Resources Management

Washington State has a rich and diverse prehistory/ history that have left evidence across the landscape. When WSDOT embarks on a project, federal and state laws require that impacts to archaeological, historical and cultural resources be considered. To assess potential impacts, cultural resource specialists:

  • Coordinate with the Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP) to complete transportation projects with limited impacts to archaeological and historic resources. 
  • Identify archaeological remains and historic structures eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places located within a project's area of disturbance.
  • Consult with the State Historic Preservation Officer ( DAHP ), Native American Tribes, and the public concerning the appropriate treatment of archaeological and historic resources that cannot be otherwise avoided.

For more information on how WSDOT complies with historic preservation laws, regulations, and polices, visit the  Cultural Resources Compliance  page.

Creative Mitigation Efforts

It is WSDOT policy to avoid adverse effects, where practical, to historical, archaeological, and cultural resources in planning, constructing, operating or maintaining the state's transportation system. If it is not practical  to avoid them, such effects will be mitigated.  A sample of creative mitigation options developed for various WSDOT projects are provided below:

  • Develop guidance documents

A Review and Evaluation of Common Deep Subsurface Archaeological Investigation Methods (8.65 MB) was developed as a mitigation commitment for the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Project.  The report evaluates considerations for identifying archaeological deposits that may be buried at depths greater than conventional shovel probes may reach.  Focusing on Washington State, the information is nevertheless relevant for a broad range of locales where deeply buried deposits may be present.

  • Project websites

    , SR 520 Bridge Replacement and HOV Project

             SR 16 Tacoma Narrows Bridge Project- Bridge History             

  • Information centers for the public

Milepost 31  Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Project

  • Video documentaries (available on the WSDOT YouTube Channel) 

Meridian Street Bridge, SR 167 Puyallup River Bridge  

Remembering The Ebey Slough Swing Bridge, SR 529 

The Simpson Avenue Bridge: A Case Study in Maintenance Success, US 101  

They Called Him 'The Skipper'; The Life and Times of Washington's Lacey V. Murrow

The Manette Bridge: Bringing People Together for 81 Years, 1930-2011, SR 303  

  • Pod casts
  • Archival photo documentation
  • Interpretive signage
  • Lesson plans (grade K-12)
  • Historical essays, papers, presentations and publications

I-5 Nuclear Fallout Shelter - "Waiting for the the End of the World: Prototype Fallout Shelter Under Interstate 5 in North Seattle" by Craig Holstine, WSDOT Historian, appearing in the Journal of Northwest Anthropology

“Lifeboat Ethics’ under the Interstate: Seattle’s Prototype Highway Fallout Shelter,” by Craig Holstine, WSDOT Historian, presented at the Society of Architectural Historians Marion Dean Ross Pacific Northwest Chapter Conference, Seattle, 2014.

Washington State Historic Bridges


    McMillin Bridge, SR 162 Puyallup River Bridge


    McMillin Bridge, 1934
    A bridge of unique design listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Visit the WSDOT Historic Bridges and Highways site to view highlights of Washington's most significant Transportation structures.

Pacific Northwest Ethnobotany

The Ethnobotany and Cultural Resources Manual identifies plants found along the highway Right-of-Way in Western Washington of traditional cultural significance and use.

Cultural Resources Training (CRT)

Each year, WSDOT partners with the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation and Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission  to offer Cultural Resources Training (CRT).

CRT promotes awareness, preservation and stewardship of Washington’s cultural resources and is the only comprehensive training of this kind in the state. Enrollment is open to anyone with a need or desire to learn about cultural resources, cultural resource management laws and regulations, and the importance of preservation.

Historic Cabin at Olmstead State Park, Kittitas
Training participants will explore historic and archaeological sites common to Washington State.
Historic Homestead Cabin at Olmstead Place State Park in Kittitas County.  

Using classroom and field exercises, participants work with some of the region's most qualified instructors to learn the skills necessary to address cultural resource management issues. Past attendees are encouraged to register for a refresher on cultural resource policies, laws and regulations. Please note, however, preference for enrollment may be given to first-time participants.

To register, please contact Erin Littauer, WSDOT Cultural Resource Specialist at 360.570.2448 or .

2018 Spring Cultural Resources Training 

Session: April 30- May 3, 2018
Where: Central Washington University 
             Ellensburg, Washington
Cost: TBD

2017 Fall Cultural Resources Training - Canceled, Hosted by Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission 

Cultural Resource Program Information and Contacts

Sign up to receive Cultural Resources email updates 

Notices may be sent to announce training opportunities, policy updates and staff changes. This is not a discussion list serve and you may cancel notifications anytime.

Please contact Erin Littauer, Cultural Resources Specialist, at with any questions.

Cultural Resources Program Information 
Contact Scott Williams, Cultural Resource Program Manager at

Specific Project or Region Activity
Contact that region's or program's Cultural Resource Specialist (CRS) (pdf 31 kb).

Native American Tribes
Contact the WSDOT Tribal Liaison Office site.

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