This issue includes an update on the 2014 construction season, a new safety device in
Tumwater Canyon, a new Leavenworth traffic camera on our website and some new
recreation initiatives involving SR 20.
WSDOT 2014 construction season begins right after President's Day - The region's
$15.5 million chip seal project gets underway with crack sealing work Tuesday. With
more than 200 miles of highway being resurfaced over the next 7-1/2 months, starting
all the necessary pre-work while there's still snow on the ground will allow the actual
chip sealing to begin by May 1.
Recreation is a significant attraction along SR 20 from its beginning on Whidbey Island
to its end at the Idaho border. In our region, the North Cascades Highway portion over
Rainy and Washington Passes to Loup Loup and Wauconda Passes are considered
visual treasures whether viewed from a vehicle, bicycle, snowmobile or on foot, skis or
As the highway is opened each spring the number of bicycles has continued to grow
each year. Recently a national organization has taken the lead to develop route
designations for National Bicycle Routes across the U.S.
In this region, the City of Okanogan endorsed the designation at their last meeting. We
are pleased that if the designation is adopted for SR 20, it will benefit the communities
along the route. The designation by itself doesn't include any funding for things like new
bike lanes or improvements to shoulders, however, it could strengthen any applications
when competing for funding through federal and state programs.
Closing Tumwater Canyon due to avalanches, fires and construction has become a
frequent enough event that we installed permanent drop arm gates at both the top and
bottom of the canyon. The gates save time and expense with no barricades to have
to go get and then set up. They are easily operated by either a single WSP trooper or
WSDOT maintenance crew member.
If you check the WSDOT traffic and roads web page for the map with traffic cameras on
it, you will find there's a new one in Leavenworth and there are plans to add two more
cameras on US 2 in the Bavarian Village.