Why recovery of truck on Memorial Day weekend?


The in basket: Dave Dahlke says he wasn’t personally affected by the Memorial Day weekend blockage by the state Department of Transportation of the southbound lanes of Highway 16 to pull a semi out of a ravine but he read the letter to the editor from Frank Kolb in the Kitsap Sun excoriating the agency for its timing.

Frank, who WAS personally affected, wrote, in part, “It had been there for days! The removal could have been done at night, but the morning schedule meant that at 11 a.m. traffic was stopped before Mullenix Road heading south. Thousands of motorists (myself included) had their holiday weekend ruined due to this all-day fiasco. I tried to go down Bethel-Burley Road, but that was no better, so myself and countless others just turned around and went home.

“I called 511, no info there,” Frank said, “no notice was posted anywhere that would have warned us. I thought it must have been a fatal accident, no one at DOT would lack the common sense to plan something like this. But I was wrong…”

Dave asked if I could “find out who and why this travesty was done at the time it was and with no notification to the public that it was going to happen.”

The out basket: Doug Adamson of the Olympic Region public affairs office for WSDOT, replied, “I’d like to first apologize for the inconvenience this semi-truck recovery caused the traveling public.

“Our plan was to choose a low-volume time to remove the semi-truck. We, of course, knew that the Sunday in question was in the middle of the Memorial Day weekend. That fact would normally work in our favor, as the middle day of a three-day weekend normally sees lighter traffic volumes (especially in those early-morning hours). We expected the recovery to take place between 5:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., and to have all lanes back open long before traffic volumes built.

“Unfortunately things did not go exactly as planned.  The semi had gone down a steep embankment while carrying tens of thousands of pounds of cargo. We chose to do the recovery during daylight hours because, while our goal is to keep traffic moving, safety is our number one priority.  During recovery, unfortunately the heavy load inside the trailer shifted and resulted in a much longer recovery time than planned to retrieve the trailer and semi-truck.

“Information about the closure did go out to the public, via WSDOT’s GovDelivery email and text system. It was also posted on our travel alerts web page, and shared on the WSDOT Twitter account.

“We certainly do thank drivers for their patience,” Doug concluded. “We understand how delays are frustrating.”

2 thoughts on “Why recovery of truck on Memorial Day weekend?

  1. It was my understanding that there was signage out and message boards stating that the road was closed. If drivers paid more attention then maybe they would see it. Even the WSDOT app had the road closure listed. But like most Washington drivers, they drive with blinders on or their head down. I see it every day I am working on the Highways and we have signs and message boards and daily updates on the app that states whether or not a road or a lane is closed or where the detours are. And everyday we close a lane on the highway and everyday some idiot either causes a wreck trying to get over at the barrel merge where the lane is closed or the just run right into the barrels and or the signs and message boards. Almost nightly on I-5 we have to both pick up the barrels and the mirrors that come off from them hitting the barrels. And almost monthly we have to replace a 1000lb arrow board because drivers here are confused about what to do when they see the arrows showing them to get over and they run straight into the trailer. So not only is their car totaled, but the troopers are writing them thousands of dollars worth of tickets. So for drivers here not noticing the road closed signs and doing what their GPS says, that’s on them. Drive Safe

  2. “sorry for the inconvenience”. That phrase alone highlights much of what is wrong at WSDOT. Sorry Doug, for thousands of people living on the peninsula it goes beyond an inconvenience. Many are going to their morning jobs, yes even on a three day weekend; more are going on vacations planned and saved for over months; and others are counting on that traffic to fuel their businesses after months languishing through the winter/school season. No Doug, it is more than an inconvenience.

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