WSDOT announces award of Phase 1C contract, resulting in savings that will further the next phase of the project.

Today, The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) announced that Guy F. Atkinson, LLC (Renton) was awarded the $236 million contract for Phase 1C of the I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East, which includes rebuilding the avalanche snowsheds.  The bid was approximately $20 million less than originally expected for this phase. Due to direction from the legislature, these funds will remain in the I-90 corridor to keep this project moving forward toward the full fifteen mile upgrade.

“Continuing construction of I-90 will keep money flowing into the economy now, while investing in our state’s most important east-west transportation corridor for the future,” said Senator Scott White, Vice Chair of the State Senate Transportation Committee. “I am pleased that this action will begin the construction of both the snowsheds and other key safety features including in the next phase, and I expect we’ll learn soon how far those funds will stretch.”
The I-90 Wildlife Bridges Coalition has supported funding for this project that provides substantial benefits for safety, wildlife, freight mobility and capacity.

“The award-winning I-90 project has received international attention for its innovative design, partnerships and educational outreach. We are excited that these funds will go towards the next phase of the project that includes the first wildlife overpass. When built it will be an icon of the Mountains to Sound Greenway- not only providing excellent connectivity for wildlife, but also demonstrating the value of partnerships and sparking learning about wildlife and highways,” said Charlie Raines, Director of the I-90 Wildlife Bridges Coalition.

The 2011 Transportation Budget directed WSDOT to use up to $8 million in project savings already accrued prior to the legislative session to start designing the next two miles (Phase 2A and 2B) of the project from Keechelus Dam vicinity to the Stampede Pass Interchange. The budget language also approved the use of project savings from Phase 1C of the project to be used in the corridor for future phases. Improvements to these next two miles of I-90 include:

  • Adding a new lane in each direction
  • Replacing deteriorating concrete
  • Stabilizing rock slopes
  • Building wildlife crossings
  • Improving sign distance by reducing sharp curves
  • Adding new chain-up areas
  • Replacing site of Price/Nobel Creek Sno-park.


Phase 2, of the I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East Project can be divided into stand alone phases so that the savings can be applied immediately on the ground if no additional funding becomes available. But, a diverse group of partners led by Kittitas County are working together to apply for federal TIGER III stimulus competitive grant funds to build off of these savings and provide the total funding needed to complete the next phase.

“The I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East Project continues to provide significant engineering and environmental benefits to Kittitas County and beyond, that cannot be denied. Of those, and perhaps the most significant, is the diversity of common interests associated with the project. Kittitas County understands those important relationships and is a proud partner in the project’s continued success,” stated Kirk Holmes of Kittitas County.

This construction work on Phase 1C beginning this month will take six years to complete because of the short construction seasons on Snoqualmie Pass. The estimated completion date is summer 2017 along with the all other work underway now from Hyak to Keechelus Dam. Design for Phase 2 as directed by the legislature has already begun by WSDOT staff.

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