OLYMPIA – In the first two years of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, construction crews across Washington preserved 820 lane miles of rural and urban highways and upgraded 879 miles of roadway to reduce the risk of serious collisions. These are just two of the investments outlined in a new Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) report on the state’s delivery of Recovery Act-funded projects.
The report – “WSDOT and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act” – documents how WSDOT worked with its partners in local government and private construction companies to deliver transportation improvements across the state, while supporting workers with close to $150 million in payroll.
Washington state and local governments have completed 185 projects and spent more than $400 million of the $490 million in Recovery Act highway funds distributed to Washington. In addition, the state has received $781 million in federal high-speed rail funds and $179 million in transit funds as part of the Recovery Act.
The analysis is part of WSDOT’s ongoing effort to assess state and federal investments in transportation and comes at a transition point for Washington’s Recovery Act project delivery. Most of the highway, transit, and ferries projects are now complete, while construction is about to begin on the agency’s Recovery Act-funded high-speed rail program.
Among the report’s highlights:
· WSDOT used $12 million in Recovery Act funds to install 808 miles of new centerline rumble strips and 71 miles of new or upgraded cable median barrier on state highways. Before and after studies show a 48 percent reduction in fatal and serious injury collisions when centerline rumble strips or cable median barrier are installed.
· All but three of the 47 WSDOT Recovery Act highway contracts were awarded below the engineer’s estimate, with the average contract awarded 25 percent lower than the project estimate. The successful bids totaled $393 million, 25 percent lower than the estimated $527 million.
· The $164.8 million of Recovery Act funds directed to WSDOT preservation projects paid for upgrades to 820 lane miles of state highways, including 447 miles of asphalt resurfacing, 250 miles of chip seal resurfacing, 74 miles of concrete dowel bar retrofit and panel replacement, and 49 miles of concrete reconstruction.
· In June 2010 WSDOT opened a new Recovery Act-funded auxiliary lane on northbound I-405 in Bothell. An analysis shows the project has improved the travel time for a larger 6.8-mile corridor by almost two minutes and helped reduce the duration of afternoon peak period congestion.
While most highway projects are now completed, work continues on several projects, including high-profile projects to preserve the SR 433 Lewis and Clark Bridge over the Columbia River and the I-405 Bellevue Braids project in King County. For regularly updated information on Washington Recovery Act highway projects, including the latest employment information, check the www.wsdot.wa.gov/funding/stimulus/newsletter page.