Thursday, December 18, 2008

December 18, 2008...

1 p.m. update

So here is what we know so far. Our Web site is getting slammed with traffic and due to technical challenges are hearing that it has been difficult to access. We put a text page up on our homepage about half an hour ago so that you can get at least the basics of what is going on. Here is the rundown:

Mountain passes
Chains required on both directions of Snoqualmie pass. Traction tires everywhere else. This could change moment by moment. Passes are fickle that way.

Northbound between SR 169 and I-90 has been very difficult all morning. Nearly a parking lot.

SR 520 - 10 a.m. update
Hazardous road conditions all along this route. Westbound SR 520 remains closed due to multiple spin-outs and dangerous driving conditions. The closure begins at the Union Hill on-ramp to westbound SR 520 to West Lake Sammamish Parkway. The following ramps to westbound SR 520 are closed: SR 202, Union Hill and West Lake Sammamish Parkway.

I-5 - 10 a.m. update
Northbound near Boeing field has been rough going all morning. The I-5 northbound ramp to the Boeing Access Road has been closed due to poor weather and icy conditions.

Seattle area weather update - 10:15 a.m.
This storm has become stationary over the Seattle area. We could see as much as 6 additional inches of snow (this includes downtown Seattle). This will last though and beyond the morning commute. The temperatures are scheduled to drop as an arctic front. Icing is a major concern for the morning commute.

Whatcom county
It continues to snow in much of Whatcom County. Crews on the roads report compact snow and ice everywhere, and blowing, drifting snow in the eastern part of the county. Chains are required on Mount Baker Highway east of milepost 39 (East Church Mountain Road). Our crews have every piece of equipment they own out on the roads, and they're doing their best to keep the roads passable.

Eastern Washington
Hearing reports of 18-20 inches of snow, conditions are bad all around. Expecting more snow today.

Web site
We reached 5.8 million page views yesterday. A new record for our site. Unfortunately we are experiencing internal network issues this morning. Pages may be slow to load or may not come up at all.

We will be updating this blog, Twitter, and posting photos all day today to keep you informed of the conditions.

If you can stay home today, do it. If you find yourself on the road and you do not want to travel any farther, consider getting off the freeway entirely or move to the right side. Please do not stop in the travel lanes or on the left shoulder. It prevents our road crews from getting through and it prevents emergency vehicles from accessing true emergencies. They need that left lane.

Thank you for your continued help and patience. We are working as quickly as we can to get our roads in good condition.


Anonymous said...

Why doesn't anyone ever cover the commute between burlington, anacortes and oak harbor? There are no cameras other than the anacortes ferry and it's quite a commute in weather from whidbey to anacortes or burlington?

Sonya said...

I love that you guys are on Twitter. It's very useful, especially on days like this. However, it would be great if you'd mention hwy 99 more often. There are no traffic cameras, so it's really hard to see what's going on there. It's my preferred way to get from Shoreline to downtown (though I guess I should be happy that everyone else is on I-5).

wadotidiots said...

Why don't you idiots use salt here??

No wonder its always an "event" whenever there is even a drop of snow.

What do you expect sand to do? Sand does NOTHING.

Anonymous said...

Jeremy, you are doing a great job getting all this information out in so many different formats. I am so impressed with WDOT.

Anonymous said...

Having spoken to several colleagues the reason many people are getting 'trapped' on 520 and 405 is that the traffic map continues to show green. People are used to just looking at the traffic map and seeing green and thinking it is fine.

Having watched the maps all morning, not once has 520 shown anything but green so many people are continuing to rely on this misinformation.

Sean Sperte said...

Great job utilizing these communication mediums (Twitter, blogging). I love that my state DOT keeps me updated using technology.

You'll notice how people always feel their particular area isn't being covered. Why not set up a framework to tap into that respective information from those people themselves (ala citizen journalism)?

Again, great job. Keep up the good work.

Chud Vandervooden said...

What is the DOT doing running a blog? Damn, I'm tired of seeing these social tools being manipulated by businesses and institutions for their own advertising. THAT'S NOT WHAT A BLOG IS FOR. The cute language and quippy stories are totally inappropriate. Can the DOT not make up its mind between whether it is a professional organization or a hip social crowd?

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know anything about i-5 north? between Chehalis and Tumwater?

Jeremy Bertrand said...

We have a blog purely for the reason that we get to have these conversations with you. It has turned out to be a fantastic tool for us to talk to people like you about transportation issues, weather conditions, and some of the more interesting things we do for the citizens of Washington state.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for having several options to locate information. It is an excellent idea that other DOTs could learn from.

My husband is a trucker and we use the main site often throughout the year. Current information is vital...especially during the winter.

Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

I don't want to crash your server, but I do want to say thanks for the information -- and thanks for being on Twitter.

By the way, to the person who called you guys idiots for not using salt, I come from Wisconsin and my understanding is that salt is about melting ice and sand is about traction. Salt is a good idea once there's actually ice on the road (or if temperatures are dropping and you expect a freeze). It's not really all that cold right now.

Dawn of the Read said...

I'm delighted with your blog...I feel like it really puts a human face on the organization.

I wish do the twitter feed could be broken down a bit by roads impacted or something (like wsdotI5, wsdotI90, etc...).

S. Snider said...

Thanks for being informative via this blog and twitter today. This has been invaluable for me to make decisions on whether or not to travel to Redmond for work (fyi i'm not going).

Please continue this service, it's much faster and better for my generation of people than the maps. Plus, I have the traffic map on my phone, so the website is somewhat redundant.

Mike Christianson said...

If the WSDOT maps are unavailable, don't forget about SeaFlow. It's a small desktop application that uses WSDOT data but shows way more detail than the regular WSDOT maps. For more info, you can read my write-up about SeaFlow.

Kelly said...

Thanks for having this feature. Forget about tickets for cell phone use. How about tickets for the idiots who endanger everyone by not even having snow tires. We have difficult conditions virtually every winter so step up or stay home.

Jeremy Bertrand said...

We have 50,000 tons of salt at our disposal and are ready to have more here if we need it. We used some of that salt today. Sometimes mother nature doesn't like us competing with her and no matter what we do she likes to show us the trump card.

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