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November 19, 2013 at 6:36 AM
What were they thinking? The State Patrol is looking for who’s responsible for throwing rocks at vehicles on I-90 near Ellensburg late Saturday or early Sunday. One rock went through a windshield and injured a person inside. The State Patrol says two other cars were also damaged by rocks.
The Affordable Care Act has certainly had its bumps and bruises, but this is pathetic: Not one enrollee: Oregon health website having biggest problem
Get wet yesterday? Still misty rain this morning and there’s still a 50 percent chance of showers later today. But ah, tomorrow and Thursday the forecast calls for mostly sunny skies. Yeah, we’ll believe it when we see it! National Weather Service forecast
Intruder shot and killed in Buckley. The guy drove through a driveway gate about 11 p.m. yesterday, hit a parked car and broke through home’s door. The man inside fought with the intruder, and that’s when the intruder was shot. He apparently wasn’t known by the man and woman living in the home. KIRO-TV has the story.
Once in a while, the little guy wins: A small New Hampshire coffee producer has won in a trademark case brought by Starbucks. The big guy, Starbucks, didn’t like the small guy, Black Bear Micro Roastery, using the name “Charbucks” for its darkest coffee roast. Starbucks had appealed to the 2nd U.S. Court Circuit Court of Appeals after a district court ruled in favor of Black Bear, which operates out of a barn. The appeals court agreed with the lower court’s decision late last week. Starbuck says it never was after any money, it just wanted Black Bear to stop using the name Charbucks.
Most-read stories on seattletimes.com:
- The Percy Harvin hype is finally, spectacularly a reality | Jerry Brewer
- Seahawks are showing that much more is possible | Larry Stone
- Cheney family at odds over gay marriage
- Video shows near-vertical crash of Russian plane
- 777X vote shows bitter rift in Machinists leadership
Nick Provenza: 206-464-2142 or firstname.lastname@example.org
November 5, 2013 at 4:13 PM
The aftermath of a vehicle collision involving a semi-truck on the Interstate 90 bridge blocked all but one westbound lane and created a miles-long backup this afternoon.
About an hour after the 3 p.m. accident, the state Department of Transportation opened all lanes, but a backup remains. WSDOT said at 4:15 p.m. that a drive from Bellevue to Seattle across the bridge could take about 70 minutes.
As of 4 p.m., the backup stretched at least seven miles and was spreading onto the southbound Interstate 405 according to the Washington State Department of Transportation. WSDOT spokeswoman Harmony Haveman recommended Seattle-bound commuters take SR 520, or northbound Interstate 405 to SR 522.
October 21, 2013 at 7:17 PM
The state will soon send 10,000 surveys to residents and businesspeople on Mercer Island, to find out when, how often, and in what direction they drive on Interstate-90 during the week of Nov. 17-23.
The forms include fill-in-the-blank questions about peak commute habits, and another about service workers, such as nannies, home-care aides, and landscapers. The back page looks like a standardized test, but easier. Mark the bubbles on a grid, for the number of trips taken in one of five time periods, for Sunday through Saturday.
Island residents continue to oppose state plans to toll I-90 to collect money to help finish the Highway 520 Bridge across Lake Washington. Citizens at a forum Monday at Mercer Island High School often expressed concern about teachers or elder-care workers who live off-island and can’t afford tolls.
John Parker, the school’s sound, video and performing arts center technician, testified at the event he was working. “Yes, I would have to quit my job if they toll,” he said later. He said he earns $47,000 a year, lives in West Seattle, and would have to spend at least $2,100 a year to keep driving to what he calls his dream job, if tolls are imposed.
Attendance at the forum peaked at about 300 people at 5:30 p.m., and the total was higher. A similar forum in January drew 800 people.
Craig Stone, tolling director for Washington State Department of Transportation, rolled out some compromise scenarios. In one, islanders might pay a half-toll. In another, they’d pay in only one direction.
Tolls would have to be authorized by the Legislature in 2015, so they might begin in late 2016 or early 2017, he said.
Unless there are more tolls, a gas-tax boost of 3 to 4 cents a gallon will be needed to pay off the 520 Bridge, he said.
Speakers at the forum cited problems on the Highway 520 Bridge — pontoon cracks and cost overruns, as a reason not to impose more tolls.
“There’s a lot of tolling fatigue,” said resident Owen Blauman, who greeted people at the front steps. He said multiple rounds of state process are wearing opponents down, and some are assuming they’ll catch a price break. “Bottom line is, why should there be tolls anyway? They [WSDOT] can’t manage the gas tax we’ve given them.”
Stone said WSDOT recognizes Mercer Island is a “unique situation” because I-90 is the only way to get there or leave it.
Mercer Island generates about one-fifth of the 160,000 daily cross lake trips on I-90, and seemingly four-fifths of the political controversy.
October 20, 2013 at 7:10 AM
Almost six years after Gov. Chris Gregoire first suggested tolling the I-90 bridge, the state government continues to study whether and how to do so — at a cost of up to $8.3 million just for the environmental studies.
State transportation staff again visit the eye of the storm from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday in a forum at Mercer Island High School, where they will take two-minute comments, and display graphics about various options. In this round of process, the public tells the state Department of Transportation what angles to examine in the environmental-impact statement.
The last session is Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Northwest African American Museum in Seattle. A session was held in Bellevue on Oct. 10.
I-90 tolls are alluring to some legislators as a means to help fill a $1.4 billion gap in the Highway 520 project, which lacks enough money to complete a Montlake interchange and Portage Bay Bridge near I-5. But the DOT’s “purpose and need” statement says the main purpose is to control I-90 congestion, with money for 520 secondary. Many citizens have smelled a conspiracy: Impose 520 tolls that divert traffic, then cite I-90 crowding to justify I-90 tolls. Tolls have made travel quicker for those who can afford them on 520, and are seen as a way to balance a gradual decline in gas-tax revenue, as vehicles become fuel efficient.
In January, Mercer Islanders objected that they — as well as teachers, retail workers or home-improvement contractors who commute to The Rock – have no other way off the island and face an unfair burden, approaching $2,000 a year, if tolls are imposed. The DOT is considering options:
- Toll the freeway on just the Seattle side or the east side of the island, so islanders have one free direction.
- Arrange for special toll passes that let individual islanders choose which direction is free for them.
- Toll trips only entering the island, not leaving it — in effect, creating a 50 percent discount for round-trips by islanders.
- Instead of tolling all lanes, create one high-occupancy or toll (HOT) lane each direction from Seattle to Issaquah, where solo drivers can pay to join the quicker carpool lane. But a HOT lane raises only $250 million instead of the $1 billion goal, and might hinder express buses.
The state graphics include a chart of the public’s suggestions, such as widening I-90, adding transit, or seeking a boost in the gas tax, car-tab tax, or a new tax on vehicle miles traveled. Some of these add cost, and DOT says it takes a 3-cent statewide gas-tax hike just to pay off 520. So the environmental-impact statement might merely pay lip service to the non-toll scenarios.
Of course, effects of tolling go far beyond Mercer Island, as shown in this DOT plot of I-90 users’ residences.
Environmental studies were required by acts of the Legislature in 2012 and 2013. It’s currently illegal to toll one bridge to pay for another, so another bill would be needed. Meanwhile, the studies won’t be final until early 2015.
May 27, 2013 at 4:04 PM
The Associated Press
A 20-mile backup has formed on westbound Interstate 90 as travelers return Monday to the Puget Sound region from Memorial Day excursions.
The backup goes from about milepost 86 in the Roselyn area to milepost 105 near Ellensburg, said Summer Derrey with Washington state Department of Transportation.
Drivers should expect a two-hour delay if they are heading west.
The department doesn’t expect the backup to clear until Monday night.
Derrey says the heavy traffic is solely caused by travelers. There aren’t any reports of collisions or closures along that stretch of I-90.
April 20, 2013 at 3:45 PM
UPDATE 4/22/13 | The King County Medical Examiner’s Office has identified the accident victim as Rajat Kala.
A 29-year-old man was killed this morning when his car, traveling west on I-90, left the roadway and landed on its top, according to the Washington State Patrol.
The accident occurred at 8:37 a.m. near milepost 22, east of Issaquah, according to a press memo from the patrol. The man’s car, a silver 2001 Toyota Celica, left the highway and landed at the intersection of SE Highpoint Way and SE 79th Street.
The man, alone in the car, had been wearing a seatbelt, the patrol said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
His name was being withheld pending notification of family.
March 15, 2013 at 3:28 PM
The city of Mercer Island this week sent a letter asking the Federal Highway Administration to block state proposals to toll I-90.
The law firm K&L Gates argues in the city ‘s letter that I-90 tolling is meant mainly to bail out the state DOT, not serve the federal goal to improve traffic:
Moreover, tolling a federal interstate to pay for an unrelated project would set a significant and troubling national policy precedent. Allowing states to toll the federal interstate system to pay for unrelated state projects that face budget problems is not appropriate. States across the country are facing budget shortfalls, and using the VPPP [federal "value pricing pilot program"] flexibly here means there would be no practical limit to the tolls that could be imposed by other cash-strapped states, despite the general prohibition on tolling interstate highways in 23 U.S.C. § 301.
The state Department of Transportation and several state lawmakers support I-90 tolls, for the sake of solving a $1.4 billion shortfall to rebuild nearby Highway 520. House Transportation Committee Chair Judy Clibborn — a Mercer Island Democrat now drawing scorn from constituents — has called I-90 tolls inevitable.
But lawmakers have dabbled with the idea at least four years, without showing the nerve to actually impose them. Mercer Islanders, part of a burgeoning citizens’ opposition group, have said tolls will isolate them, and impose costs not only on the islanders but on the modest-income teachers, retail employees and caregivers who work there. A solo commuter’s cost might be roughly $1,700 a year, based on the existing schedule of tolls on 520. Among the state’s options are tolling either Seattle trips or Bellevue trips, but not both directions, so at least one free option exists for islanders.
In the past, officials in the Highway Administration have said they’re open to the idea of tolling I-90, under the “Value Pricing Pilot Program” (VPPP) in which variable rate tolls are imposed to control congestion, and encourage more transit use. Highway 520 won federal aid to enact tolls Dec. 29, 2011. Transit use across the 520 floating bridge has increased by one-fourth in the last two years. Toll supporters argue that tolling both bridges will balance and improve regional traffic.
The letter is part of an environmental review phase that continues until this fall.
November 7, 2012 at 9:45 PM
The Associated Press
NORTH BEND – A North Bend-area burglary that netted a .357 magnum handgun and a checkbook led to one quick arrest in Snoqualmie and a high-speed escape attempt along Interstate 90 before a second person surrendered.
King County sheriff’s Sgt. Cindi West says the elderly victims reported Tuesday’s burglary to officers and quickly alerted their bank. While a sergeant was still at the home, the bank advised that someone was trying to cash a stolen check at a Snoqualmie grocery store. Police there quickly arrested a woman with the stolen checkbook but a male accomplice took off in a car when officers tried to stop him.
The fleeing driver avoided spike strips and raced west along I-90 at speeds of 90 mph before finally pulling over on Interstate 405. The sheriff’s helicopter helped track the speeding car.
West says two Renton residents were booked into jail for investigation of burglary, theft, forgery and gun theft.
August 24, 2012 at 6:35 PM
So much construction is under way, that keeping up with detours is practically impossible. Keep your eyes on those ubiquitous overhead freeway message signs. In the meantime, we’ll try to list highlights here:
The carpool lane of I-405 northbound, at the I-90 junction, will close for pavement repair for 38 hours, from 9 p.m. Friday to 11 a.m. Sunday. Congestion on Saturday afternoon could stretch as much as three miles back to Kennydale, unless drivers make other plans, the state Department of Transportation predicts. Meanwhile, multiple lanes of I-405 in Kirkland will close overnight Friday and Saturday for re-striping.
I-5 southbound will close from 11 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Saturday for fire-suppression testing under the state convention center in Seattle. The express lanes will be pointing south by 11:30 p.m., so enter those at Northgate or Green Lake to bypass downtown. Cars on the mainline freeway will be diverted at the Stewart Street exit, along Fifth Avenue, to re-enter I-5 at Spring Street.
Mercer Street and its I-5 ramps will close from 11 p.m Friday to 5 a.m. Monday — and then Mercer will reopen as a two-way boulevard. Fairview Avenue North will be constricted to one lane, causing weekday congestion.
The northbound exit from I-5 to North 85th Street is closed this weekend for resurfacing on 85th.
The right northbound lane of First Avenue South in Sodo opened Friday afternoon, with a temporary steel plate, after a sinkhole closed the section near South Massachusetts Street for three days.
The First Avenue South up-ramp to the Spokane Street Viaduct, is set to open at 6 a.m. next Friday (Aug. 31) after a long delay. The ramp will help traffic get from Sodo to the high West Seattle Bridge, instead of crossing the low swing bridge and some BNSF Railway freight tracks west of First. More here from West Seattle Blog.
Single-lane morning closures are planned Aug. 27-31 on Highway 161 in Federal Way, to finish work related to the new ”Triangle” ramps at the junction with I-5 and Highway 18.
August 1, 2012 at 12:38 PM
The Blue Angels are here for this weekend’s Seafair celebrations, and that means intermittent closures of Interstate 90.
The precision flying team will roar over Lake Washington in practice sessions Thursday and Friday and put on shows Saturday and Sunday.
The Federal Aviation Administration requires the state Transportation Department to close I-90 while the Blue Angels perform, for the safety of both drivers and pilots.
Interstate 90 will be closed to all vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists in both directions — including the mainline and express lanes — between Interstate 5 in Seattle to Island Crest Way on Mercer Island.
Here’s the schedule of closures:
- Thursday: 9:45 a.m. – noon & 1:15 – 2:30 p.m. (Practice)
- Friday: 12:45 p.m. – 2:40 p.m. (Practice)
- Saturday: 12:45 p.m. – 2:40 p.m. (Full show)
- Sunday: 12:45 p.m. – 2:40 p.m. (Full show)
Also, I-90 ramps in those areas will close up to one hour in advance of the I-90 closures.
Drivers are advised to travel early or choose other routes, including I-405 or State Route 522.
The precision flying squadron is here for this weekend’s Seafair celebration.
About The Today File
The Today File is a general news blog featuring real-time coverage of Seattle and the Northwest. It is reported by the news staff of The Seattle Times and edited by Assistant Metro Editor Nick Provenza.
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