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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

March 18, 2013 at 4:00 PM

Ron Paananen returns to DOT as expert on bridge, tunnel project

Paanen hire is a mistake

This is a tragic Washington State Department of Transportation and Gov. Jay Inslee mistake. Hiring Ron Paananen to study 520 bridge, which he was in charge of a few years ago before moving to be in charge of the viaduct replacement, is like hiring the fox to guard the hen house [“Ex-DOT administrator tapped to study bridge, tunnel projects,” NW Friday, March 15].

How unfair to the citizen taxpayers and now toll payers and our environment.

–Jean Amick, Seattle

Reasonable deadlines are important, ensure safety

The recently departed secretary of the Washington State Department of Transportation should be ashamed of herself. The buck used to stop at the top person responsible for an agency, or a corporation. Instead, on her way out the door, she took the time to blame the hardworking bridge engineers working on the 520 pontoon project.

Some are saying that a number of the engineers she blamed refused to sign off on the design plans and that they were not allowed adequate time to complete them. However, it appears she has succeeded in making them the scapegoats.

Why didn’t the legislators understand good engineering plans need reasonable dates for completion? Obviously, she was unable to fulfill her responsibility to explain to the legislators — if they want WSDOT to adopt a “Rush the Date” philosophy then the old axiom “haste makes waste” will manifest.

The whole affair is a shame — here’s hoping the next secretary will take more care in educating those legislators (who are not engineers) that reasonable project timelines are important, and rush dates are not only not safe, but very costly.

–Debbie Romaine, Roy

Comments | More in 520 bridge, Transportation | Topics: Ron Paananen, Washington state Department of Transportation

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