Skip Top Navigation

North Central Region NewsBrief


December 8, 2017

In this issue:

o Events

o Maintenance

o Construction

o Region

o State


Tomorrow, Saturday 12/9, from 3 to 7 p.m., traffic on SR 215 in Omak will detour between Fir St. and Bartlett Ave. around the mile-long Christmas on Main Parade and Holiday Festival.


WSU Graduation

Electronic message signs are in place on SR 26 since yesterday in the continuing effort to keep WSU students and parents safe while traveling for tomorrow’s graduation and for the start of winter break, December 17. #BeSafeCougs

Here are the messages for graduation:

  • W. of Royal City: KUDOS GRADS! DON’T TEXT & DRIVE
  • At US 395 W. of Othello: DROWSY? TAKE A BREAK

Here are the messages for tomorrow night to the 17th for Winter Break:

  • W. of Royal City: GET HOME SAFE TEXT LATER
  • At US 395 W. of Othello: DROWSY? TAKE A BREAK

They will be in place again January 4 to the 8th when classes start.

Priority Snow Plowing Blog

How does WSDOT decide what roads are plowed first when the snow starts to fall since we cannot be everywhere at once?
snowplow changeover

In order to deploy our resources, equipment and supplies strategically, priority levels have been set for all of our highways based on:

  • The number of vehicles that use the highway each day
  • Steep hills, sharp curves, intersections or ramps
  • Access to emergency services, schools, businesses and freight routes

We use advanced weather forecasting to predict where snow and ice will accumulate. We use that information to pre-treat high traffic corridors. The anti-icing chemicals prevent ice from bonding to the pavement.
Once snow has started accumulating, we switch to pre-wet rock salt with a corrosion-inhibited liquid deicer that, in time, melts snow and ice.

Here’s a WSDOT Blog post with more details including maps showing the priority assigned to the highways you use.


Construction work on roads throughout North Central Washington is winding down. The North Central Region’s Weekly Construction Update and Travel Advisory displays no current projects. You may still want to check the status of work on Snoqualmie Pass as you make your travel plans.

If you are traveling to the west side this weekend, check WSDOT’s Facebook, YouTube postings, and our blog for stories, videos, and maps to help you make decisions about your route and timing.


2017 Innovations and Partnerships in Transportation Conference

More than a dozen region staff members spent Tuesday in Tacoma at the fourth annual “Innovations in Transportation Conference”. This year’s focus was to look at how we manage the transportation system and how, through trust, partnerships, collaboration and community engagement, we can foster a more sustainable and practical future.

WSDOT Secretary Roger Millar started the day with “What We've Learned & Where We're Going.” A busy day of breakout sessions followed, addressing the growing challenges ahead, including:

· Inclusion: Examining race and gender based barriers to competition.

· Practical Solutions: Strengthening the link between performance measures and outcomes.

· Workforce Development: Implementation of modern work environment principals.

· And: Considering the different vantage points of government and local business to drive creative solutions.

Our Region’s contribution to the “hands on” exhibits of technical innovations included a lobby display featuring a new tool to measure reflectivity of highway stripes to determine if they meet the standard or need to be re-done.

That has always been a hazardous and time-consuming as technicians had to block the roadway, set up the equipment, take the measurement then repeat the process every several hundred yards.

reflectivity reader
The innovative new device can be mounted on any WSDOT vehicle and analyze the reflectivity while traveling at highway speeds providing data for all the striping instead of spot checks. It eliminates the need for traffic control, dramatically reducing the time, number of staff and safety hazards to perform the work.


Gray Notebook

This 67th quarterly edition was published last week and emphasizes our agency goal of Practical Solutions and asset management. The entire November 30, 2017 edition can be found online.

gray notebook #67
Performance measures are reported throughout the Gray Notebook.

Here are some highlights:

• Airport inspections found that 86% of runway pavement at 32 airports was in excellent or good condition.

• Approximately 88% of WSDOT Ferries terminal systems were in fair of better condition at the end of calendar year 2016.

• 35% of WSDOT-owned primary buildings are more than 50 years old, generating a backlog for capital facilities of $475 million.

• WSDOT responded to 16,356 incidents during the last quarter, clearing them in an average of 12 minutes and 36 seconds.

• Vehicle registrations increased 3.2% and licensed drivers increased 4.3% from 2014 to 2016.

The “Gray Notebook Lite” can be viewed and printed from the WSDOT accountability website.

Be safe,

NCR Leadership Team, for Region Administrator Dan Sarles

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