Washington State Department of Transportation
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The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT or WashDOT) is a governmental agency that constructs, maintains, and regulates the use of transportation infrastructure in the
U.S. state In the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state ...
of
Washington Washington commonly refers to: * Washington (state) Washington (), officially the State of Washington, is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. ...
. Established in 1905, it is led by a Secretary and overseen by the
Governor A governor is, in most cases, a public official with the power to govern the Executive (government), executive branch of a non-sovereign or sub-national level of government, ranking under the head of state. In federations, ''governor'' may be t ...
. WSDOT is responsible for more than 20,000 lane-miles of roadway, nearly 3,000 vehicular bridges and 524 other structures. This infrastructure includes rail lines,
state highways A state highway, state road, or state route (and the equivalent provincial highway, provincial road, or provincial route) is usually a road that is either ''numbered'' or ''maintained'' by a sub-national state or province A province is alm ...
, state ferries (considered part of the highway system) and state airports.


History

WSDOT was founded as the Washington State Highway Board and the Washington State Highways Department on March 13, 1905, when then-governor Albert Mead signed a bill that allocated $110,000 to fund new roads that linked the state. The State Highway Board was managed by State Treasurer, State Auditor, and Highway Commissioner Joseph M. Snow and the Board first met on April 17, 1905, to plan the 12 original state roads. The first state highway districts, each managed by a District Engineer, were established in 1918. During this period, the construction of highways began. In 1921, the State Highway Board was replaced by the Washington Highway Committee and the Washington State Highways Department became a division of the Washington State Department of Public Works. The first gas tax (1 ¢ per gallon) was levied and Homer Hadley started planning a
pontoon bridge A pontoon bridge (or ponton bridge), also known as a floating bridge, uses floats or shallow-draft Draft, The Draft, or Draught may refer to: Watercraft dimensions * Draft (hull), the distance from waterline to keel of a vessel * Draft (sai ...
across
Lake Washington Lake Washington is a large freshwater lake A lake is an area filled with water, localized in a basin, surrounded by land Land is the solid surface of Earth that is not permanently submerged in water. Most but not all land is situa ...

Lake Washington
, which would later become the
Lacey V. Murrow Memorial Bridge The Lacey V. Murrow Memorial Bridge is a floating bridge in the Seattle metropolitan area of the U.S. state of Washington (state), Washington. It is one of the Interstate 90 floating bridges that carries the eastbound lanes of Interstate 90 in W ...

Lacey V. Murrow Memorial Bridge
, which opened on July 2, 1940. In 1923, the State Highways Department separated from the Public Works Department and organized the first official system of highways, Washington's state road system. In 1926, the U.S. government approved the U.S. route system, which connected the country by road. 11 U.S. Routes entered Washington at the time. Later in 1929, the Highway Committee was merged with the State Highways Department. The
Lake Washington Floating Bridge
Lake Washington Floating Bridge
and the original
Tacoma Narrows Bridge The Tacoma Narrows Bridge is a pair of twin Twins are two offspring In biology, offspring are the young creation of living organisms, produced either by a Asexual reproduction, single organism or, in the case of sexual reproduction, two ...
opened in 1940. The Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapsed because of winds on November 7 that year, earning it the name ''Galloping Gertie''. On June 29, 1956,
President President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) A president is a leader of an organization, company, community, club, trade union, university or other group. The relationship between a president and a chief executive officer ...

President
Dwight Eisenhower Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower (; October 14, 1890 – March 28, 1969) was an American military officer An officer is a member of an armed forces or uniformed service who holds a position of authority. In its broadest sense, the term ...
signed the
Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 The Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956, popularly known as the National Interstate and Defense Highways Act (Public Law 84-627), was enacted on June 29, 1956, when President President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) A presi ...
, which started the
Interstate Highway System The Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, commonly known as the Interstate Highway System, is a network of controlled-access highway network. A controlled-access highway is a type of highway that has ...
. Originally, two Interstates entered Washington; most work was not completed until the 1970s. In 1964, the Highways Department was renamed to WSDOT and the state highways were renumbered to the current system. Metro Transit was created in 1972 and work on highways rapidly continued.
The North Cascades Highway (SR 20)
The North Cascades Highway (SR 20)
was completed in 1972, and the first
HOV lanes A high-occupancy vehicle lane (also known as an HOV lane, carpool lane, diamond lane, 2+ lane, and transit lane or T2 or T3 lanes) is a restricted traffic lane In road transport, a lane is part of a carriageway that is designated to be used b ...

HOV lanes
in Washington were installed on
SR 520
SR 520
that same year. The Washington State Transportation Commission was established in 1977, with its first meeting taking place on September 21. A combined state department of transportation was proposed as early as 1966. On February 13, 1979, the western pontoons of the
Hood Canal Bridge The Hood Canal Bridge (officially William A. Bugge Bridge) is a pontoon bridge, floating bridge in the Pacific Northwest, northwest United States, located in western Washington (state), Washington. It carries Washington State Route 104, State ...

Hood Canal Bridge
were swept away by a wind storm. In 1980,
Mount St. Helens Mount St. Helens (known as Lawetlat'la to the Indigenous Cowlitz people The term Cowlitz people covers two culturally and linguistically distinct indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest; the Lower Cowlitz or Cowlitz proper, and th ...

Mount St. Helens
erupted and caused damage to many state highways, mainly
SR 504
SR 504
. The
Hood Canal Replacement Bridge
Hood Canal Replacement Bridge
opened on October 3, 1982, and the
Lacey V. Murrow Memorial Bridge The Lacey V. Murrow Memorial Bridge is a floating bridge in the Seattle metropolitan area of the U.S. state of Washington (state), Washington. It is one of the Interstate 90 floating bridges that carries the eastbound lanes of Interstate 90 in W ...

Lacey V. Murrow Memorial Bridge
collapsed on November 25, 1990. In 1991, a smaller renumbering of state highways occurred. The renumbering produced some new highways and either realigned or removed highways from the system. In 1996,
Sound Transit Sound Transit (ST), officially the Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority, is a public transit Public transport (also known as public transportation, public transit, mass transit, or simply transit) is a system of transport ...
was formed and in the same year, the Washington State Transportation Commission adopted its first 20-year transportation plan. Throughout the 1990s, WSDOT focused increasingly on rail systems and partnered with
Amtrak
Amtrak
to create a train route that went from Canada to Oregon, which later became the
Amtrak Cascades The Amtrak ''Cascades'' is a passenger train corridor in the Pacific Northwest, operated by Amtrak in partnership with the U.S. states of Washington (state), Washington and Oregon. It is named after the Cascade Range, Cascade mountain range t ...

Amtrak Cascades
. The
2001 Nisqually earthquake The 2001 Nisqually earthquake occurred at on February 28, 2001 and lasted nearly a minute. The intraplate earthquake, intraslab earthquake had a moment magnitude scale, moment magnitude of 6.8 and a maximum Mercalli intensity scale, Mercalli in ...
damaged most state highways around the
Seattle metropolitan area The Seattle metropolitan area is an urban conglomeration in the U.S. state In the , a state is a , of which there are currently 50. Bound together in a , each state holds al jurisdiction over a separate and defined geographic territory ...
and most of the budget was turned over to the
Puget Sound Puget Sound () is a of the , an inlet of the , and part of the . It is located along the northwestern coast of the of . It is a complex system of interconnected marine waterways and basins, with one major and two minor connections to the ope ...
region to help rebuild and repair roads and bridges.


Administration

WSDOT divides the state into six regions: the
Olympic Olympic or Olympics may refer to Sports Events * Olympic Games, international multi-sport event held since 1896 ** Summer Olympic Games ** Winter Olympic Games * Ancient Olympic Games, ancient multi-sport event held in Olympia, Greece between 77 ...
,
Northwest The points of the compass are an evenly spaced set of Vertical and horizontal, horizontal directions (or Azimuth#In navigation, azimuths) used in navigation and geography. A compass rose is primarily composed of four cardinal directions—north, ...
, Southwest, North Central, South Central, and
Eastern Eastern may refer to: Transportation *China Eastern Airlines, a current Chinese airline based in Shanghai *Eastern Air, former name of Zambia Skyways *Eastern Air Lines, a defunct American airline that operated from 1926 to 1991 *Eastern Air Lin ...
. The Northwest Region is subdivided into three more regions, which are
King County King County is located in the U.S. state In the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located i ...
,
Snohomish County Snohomish County () is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chambers (publisher), Willi ...
, and Baker ( Whatcom, Skagit,
Island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atoll An atoll (), sometimes known as a coral atoll, i ...
, and
San JuanSan Juan , Spanish for Saint John (disambiguation), Saint John, may refer to: Places Argentina * San Juan Province, Argentina * San Juan, Argentina, the capital of that province * San Juan (Iruya), a small village in the Iruya Department of the ...
counties). WSDOT is overseen by the
Governor of Washington #REDIRECT List of governors of Washington The governor of Washington is the head of the executive branch of the government of the State of Washington and commander-in-chief of the state's military forces.WA Const. art. III, § 2. The officehold ...
. The governor appoints a Secretary of Transportation who is confirmed by the
state legislature A state legislature is a legislative branch A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of collective) who use parl ...
. The last Secretary of Transportation was Lynn Peterson, who served until February 5, 2016, when her appointment under Governor
Jay Inslee Jay Robert Inslee (; born February 9, 1951) is an American politician and economist who has served as the List of governors of Washington, 23rd governor of Washington since 2013. A member of the Democratic Party (United States), Democratic Par ...
was rejected by the Washington State Senate during the confirmation process. Deputy Secretary of Transportation Roger Millar was appointed as Acting Secretary of Transportation by Governor Inslee on February 10, 2016.


Ferries

WSDOT manages the official ferry service in Washington. WSDOT's ferry service, called Washington State Ferries, is the largest in the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
and third largest in the world. Ferries had been in the
Puget Sound Puget Sound () is a of the , an inlet of the , and part of the . It is located along the northwestern coast of the of . It is a complex system of interconnected marine waterways and basins, with one major and two minor connections to the ope ...
since the 1950s.History of Washington State Ferry system
WSDOT, Retrieved March 15, 2008
There are 10 routes and 22 ferries currently operating.


Buses

WSDOT began operating the
Travel Washington Travel Washington is an intercity bus service in the U.S. state of Washington (state), Washington funded by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). It has four routes that connect major cities to other modes, including Amtrak an ...

Travel Washington
intercity Bus program in 2007. There are currently four lines: *Grape Line, from Pasco to Walla Walla, operated by Airporter Shuttle/Bellair Charters *Dungeness Line, from
Port Angeles Port Angeles ( ) is a city in and the county seat of Clallam County, Washington, Clallam County, Washington (state), Washington, United States. With a population of 19,038 as of the 2010 United States Census, 2010 census, it is the largest ci ...
to
Seattle Seattle ( ) is a seaport The Porticciolo del Cedas port in Barcola The thumb is the first digit of the hand, next to the index finger. When a person is standing in the medical anatomical position (where the palm is facing to the front) ...

Seattle
, operated by Olympic Bus Lines. *Apple Line, from Omak to
Ellensburg Ellensburg is a city in and the county seat of Kittitas County, Washington, Kittitas County, Washington (state), Washington, United States. It is located just east of the Cascade Range near the junction of Interstate 90 in Washington, Interstate ...
via
Wenatchee Wenatchee ( ) is the county seat and largest city of Chelan County, Washington, Chelan County, Washington (state), Washington, United States. The population within the city limits in 2010 was 31,925, and was estimated to have increased to 34,360 ...
, operated by Northwestern
Trailways The Trailways Transportation System is a US-based network of approximately 70 independent bus companies that have entered into a brand licensing agreement. The company is headquartered in Fairfax, Virginia. History The predecessor to Trailways ...
*Gold Line, from
Kettle Falls Kettle Falls (Salish Salish () may refer to: * Salish peoples, a group of First Nations/Native Americans ** Coast Salish The Coast Salish is a group of ethnically and linguistically related Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coas ...
to
Spokane Spokane ( ) is the largest city and county seat of Spokane County, Washington Washington commonly refers to: * Washington (state), United States * Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States ** Federal government of the United States (m ...
, operated by Airporter Shuttle/Bellair Charters


Current projects

As of 2008, there were about 250 projects that were being planned or constructed by WSDOT. Some of the most notable projects that were recently finished include the
Tacoma Narrows Bridge The Tacoma Narrows Bridge is a pair of twin Twins are two offspring In biology, offspring are the young creation of living organisms, produced either by a Asexual reproduction, single organism or, in the case of sexual reproduction, two ...

Tacoma Narrows Bridge
project, which built a second bridge adjacent to the original bridge, the
SR 167
SR 167
HOT lanes project, which added HOT lanes over SR 167's existing
HOV lanes A high-occupancy vehicle lane (also known as an HOV lane, carpool lane, diamond lane, 2+ lane, and transit lane or T2 or T3 lanes) is a restricted traffic lane In road transport, a lane is part of a carriageway that is designated to be used b ...

HOV lanes
from the
SR 18
SR 18
area to 180th Street, and the I-5
HOV A high-occupancy vehicle lane (also known as an HOV lane, carpool lane, diamond lane, 2+ lane, and transit lane or T2 or T3 lanes) is a restricted traffic lane In road transport, a lane is part of a carriageway that is designated to be used b ...

HOV
extensions project, which extended the HOV lanes in Everett from the I-5/
SR 99
SR 99
/
SR 526
SR 526
/
SR 527
SR 527
interchange to the I-5/
US 2 U.S. Route 2 or U.S. Highway 2 (US 2) is an east–west United States Numbered Highways, U.S. Highway spanning across the northern continental United States. US 2 consists of two segments connected by various roadways in southern ...
/ SR 529 Spur interchange. Some of the main projects in the future include the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement tunnel, the replacement of the
SR 520
SR 520
Governor Albert D. Rosellini Bridge—Evergreen Point, Evergreen Point floating bridge, the Washington State Ferries, ferry terminals, the I-5 Crash barrier project and Washington State Route 704, SR 704.


See also

*U.S. Department of Transportation *State highways in Washington


References


Further reading

*


External links

*
WSDOT Key Facts
{{authority control State agencies of Washington (state), Transportation Transportation in Washington (state), Department of Transportation State departments of transportation of the United States Government agencies established in 1964 1964 establishments in Washington (state)