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North Central Region NewsBrief

January 12, 2018

In this issue:

o Travel

o Follow-up File

o Construction

o Region

o State


Lots of New Snow

Thursday on Stevens Thursday
On this date a year ago on Stevens Pass, there were 61” (just over 5 feet) of snow on the ground and the total snowfall for the season was 212” (almost 18 feet). This year the total on the ground this morning was 77” and 226” for the season. 15 inches of new snow in the previous 24 hours prompted a successful avalanche control mission for about an hour and half early this morning. The forecast calls for only a couple more inches tonight, then mostly dry until Monday afternoon.


The Blewett Pass crew was happy to hear from Lauren Antonsen who runs our front desk about a phone call from a truck driver Thursday:

Skip drives a truck that transports mail daily from Wenatchee to Federal Way over Blewett and Snoqualmie passes. He asked me to convey his appreciation to the Maintenance crew who take care of Blewett pass. Yesterday when we had heavy snow (1-11-18) the plow drivers were out in force and kept the pass in great condition. He said that it is clear that the crew takes pride in what they do and deserve a big pat on the back for their hard work.

Is it Safer to Hit a Deer or Swerve?

All of a sudden you see an animal standing in the roadway in front of you. What do you do? As a driver, hitting an animal or trying to avoid it can both result in serious injury.
Deer in the road
WSDOT records more than 1,100 vehicle crashes involving animals per year. Most happen between dusk and dawn. In Washington State, the animal most often encountered is a deer.

Should you swerve or hit it?

According to the Washington State Patrol (WSP) hitting the deer is the safer option.

"Typically, when you make any sudden change in operation to your vehicle, whether that be sudden braking, sudden acceleration or steering, you are more apt to lose control of your vehicle," said Trooper Jeff Sevigney in an interview with KREM 2. "Be attentive. Scan your surroundings. Keep your eyes up on the road. Hopefully you'll be able to see those animals before they end up right in front of you." Driving off the shoulder or crossing the centerline rather than colliding with an animal typically results in a higher number and more severe injuries as well as more vehicle damage.

Follow-up File

Last month, after our North Central Region Avalanche Crew’s successful Avalanche Search and Rescue training, we were asked to put on a snow cat training session this month as there are many new operators who have not had any formal “cat” training.
back to school
On Tuesday, January 9, staff members from WSDOT, two PUDs, WSU, Okanogan County Sheriff and private groomers gathered at the Lake Wenatchee air field, for a full day of both classroom and hands on training. The class room study included avalanche awareness and use of beacons, probes and shovels in rescue situations. The skills course on the snow followed lunch and lots of networking. Three snow cat vendors came, bringing their newest models.
Skills Course Training
Avalanche Chief Mike Stanford was pleased at the large turnout of 45 operators.


Community Engagement

Transportation Secretary Roger Millar provided his “State of Transportation” address to the House and Senate this week. Among the priorities he shared from 2017 was WSDOT’s direct engagement with the public and our communities.

House-Sec'y Millar Secretary Millar addressing the House Transportation Committee

WSDOT participated in nearly 1,000 public forums including:

More than 400 WSDOT-hosted informational briefings and presentations.

Nearly 300 local-agency sponsored public meetings.

65 project-specific open houses.

15 milestone events.

Dozens of workshops, advisory group and stakeholder meetings.

In addition, WSDOT conducted public surveys, met with the public at fairs, festivals, schools and other community events.

Social Media outreach grew as well:

824,000 mobile app downloads

868,600 Twitter followers

72,279 Facebook likes

71 million Flickr views

2.3 million text messages per month

North Central Region staff were involved in the following:

Public Events – Hosted

· 3/28 Chelan and 3/29 Manson Open houses for: SR 150 paving, NoSeeUm roundabout and SR 971 Emergency unstable slope repair.

· 4/13 Winthrop: An Open house for SR 20 Winthrop paver, SR 20 Emergency mudslides repair and North Cascades spring reopening.

· 8/2 Ephrata: Open house for SR 28 reconfiguration and restriping.

· 11/29 Chelan: SR 150/NoSeeUm Rd. roundabout Ribbon cutting ceremony.

TourDeBloom Open House Tour de Bloom Route Change Open House

Public Events- Participated

· 2/2 Leavenworth Open house for: Riverbend Drive improvements.

· 2/15 Wenatchee Open house for: City’s Comprehensive Plan.

· 3/15 Leavenworth Open house for: Tour De Bloom Bike race re-route.

· 5/13 Wenatchee: Junior Service League’s “Touch a Truck” kid’s event.

· 5/17 East Wenatchee Open house for: City’s Community Gateway project.

· 5/18 Wenatchee: City Council Urban Form Study.

· 6/2 Okanogan: TranGo Transit Center Ribbon cutting ceremony.

· 6/20 Leavenworth: Washington State Transportation Commission meeting.

· 7/31 Moses Lake: Grant Transit Multi-modal Center Ribbon cutting ceremony.

· 8/8 Quincy: Open house for: City’s SR 28/13th Street roundabout.

· 11/1 Wenatchee: Chelan PUD Smart Transportation Conference.

· 11/6 High School career fair at Wenatchee Valley College.

WVC Career Fair

The list does not include the regularly scheduled weekly and monthly public meetings (such as Chambers of Commerce or local transportation councils) that we attend or the requests to come and speak from local service clubs. (Call if you would like us to come to your group’s meeting.)


As an infrastructure bill is being hammered out in Washington D.C., the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is preparing by requiring states to create and submit Transportation Asset Management Plans (TAMP) documenting the condition of their pavement and bridges in order to determine in what order preservation and maintenance projects will be funded.

deteriorated bridge deck on SR 26 Deteriorated bridge deck on SR 26

WSDOT has been evaluating our roads and bridges for many years to make those decisions as preserving our existing “transportation assets” consistently comes up as the top priority in polls of Washingtonians. Limited funds present challenges to perform routine maintenance and preservation activities while our assets continue to age and deteriorate. Long delays in funding can require costly reconstruction or replacement of an asset.

Secretary Millar has taken the concept to the next level with an executive order establishing a Statewide Transportation Asset Management Plan (STAMP), a risk-based asset management process to preserve the state’s transportation assets. Secretary Millar’s order expands our plan to include all our assets – from ferry boats to docks, pickups to snow blowers, microwave communications systems to the internet, to buildings, furnishings, computers, even highway signs and guardrail. An asset management plan is a key tool to make decisions about where and when to best invest the funds we have.

Old Region Office 1934 Region Office Building now being Replaced

The STAMP will be used to:

  • Establish targets and performance measures.
  • Identify all the assets and their condition.
  • Identify gaps between the existing condition and our performance targets.
  • Perform lifecycle-cost and risk management analysis.
  • Create a long term financial plan for preservation.

All states must submit asset management plans by June 30, 2019 that meet all the federal requirements for FHWA review. Visit the Asset Management webpage.

Be Safe,

Dan Sarles

Region Administrator, WSDOT North Central Region

If you have any questions on items in this NewsBrief, or other transportation issues, please let me know. Call me at (509) 667-3001 or send me an e-mail at:

NewsBriefs are the result of the efforts of my Leadership Team:

Leadership team