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Eye On Olympia

Posts tagged: Seattle

To be followed by COFFEE AND BREAKFAST 2010…

As a reporter, I get upwards of 100 emails a day. But some just jump out at you.

“More than 6,500 scientists and doctors will convene at SLEEP 2009,” one recent one began.
It turns out that a group called the “Associated Professional Sleep Societies” hosts an annual scientific conference about, yes, sleeping.

They’ve been holding these conferences for 23 years.

The group also publishes a monthly journal entitled — you guessed it — SLEEP.

Deep boring and big money…

This is more of a Seattle topic, but since everybody’s going to be paying for it:

After years of chin-pulling and line-in-the-sand drawing, the governor, King County executive, Seattle’s mayor and the CEO of the Port of Seattle have agreed to replace Seattle’s aging Alaskan Way Viaduct with a “deep bored tunnel” under Seattle’s downtown. The $4.2 billion plan also includes more bus service, improvements to side streets, an upgraded waterfront and a new seawall.

“There are privotal moments when great cities make history,” said Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels. The plan, he said, improves public transit, while “reclaim(ing) our destiny as a true waterfront city, tearing down an elevated highway and re-connecting Seattle to Elliott Bay.” (The decades-old viaduct is a raised concrete double-decker highway running along downtown Seattle’s waterfront.)

The state has pledged $2.8 billion toward the project, which it hoes will pay for the two-mile-long, four-lane tunnel and restoring the land under the soon-to-be-demolished Viaduct to a four-lane street.

House Speaker Frank Chopp had a lukewarm reaction, saying he’s worried about the potential for cost overruns.

“This plan already requires at least $1.8 billion in additional taxes from Seattle and King County residents,” he said in a statement (which I’ve posted in its entirety below). “Will they also be on the hook for the overruns? Boston’s `Big Dig’ was estimated to cost $4 billion. It ended up costing many billions more.”

UPDATE: Look for some unease in the Senate with this plan, seeing as how the Senate thought only $2.4 billion in state money was set aside for this project. (The other $400 million was shifted into a “risk pool” that would include cost overruns on the SR 520 floating bridge replacement project.

Seattle’s no-salt ideal for roads: hard-packed snow and ice?

“Compact snow and ice” is a familiar cautionary refrain to winter drivers, but in Seattle, it’s apparently what city road crews are striving for.

The Seattle Times has a story about this today, quoting a city transportation official as saying that the goal in hilly Seattle is “a hard-packed surface” of snow and ice. From the story:

The icy streets are the result of Seattle’s refusal to use salt, an effective ice-buster used by the state Department of Transportation and cities accustomed to dealing with heavy winter snows.

“If we were using salt, you’d see patches of bare road because salt is very effective,” Wiggins said. “We decided not to utilize salt because it’s not a healthy addition to Puget Sound.”

No word on whether auto-body shops are viewing this as an economic stimulus plan.

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Richard Roesler covers Washington state news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Olympia.

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