SR 520 test pontoon construction finished and ‘a complete success’

520 PontoonsSATSOP – The construction of the test pontoon for the State Route 520 Bridge replacement is complete and a “complete success.”

“We’ve learned a tremendous amount,” said Scott Ireland, Washington State Department of Transportation’s (WSDOT) project engineer for the project which occurred on seven acres at Satsop Development Park in eastern Grays Harbor County.

While other aspects of replacing the SR 520 Bridge, which spans Lake Washington connecting Seattle and Bellevue, may have been more controversial, as far as the engineering science goes, the progress and advancements have been greater than expected.

“During the construction of the test pontoon, engineers identified opportunities for improvements in the form system, reinforcing details, concrete placement methods and the concrete mix design,” Ireland said, adding that they were surprised at how much they learned.

Union to pay teachers for campaign violations

OLYMPIA—The Washington Education Association (WEA) has agreed to return $225,000 to teachers after using their wages for the union’s political agenda without their authorization. This settlement ends a nine-year lawsuit that included an appeal the U.S. Supreme Court in which the high court ruled in favor of the teachers, Davenport v. WEA. The suit began when the Evergreen Freedom Foundation (EFF) filed a complaint with the Public Disclosure Commission. To date, the WEA has been ordered or agreed to pay over $1 million for violating teachers’ rights in this case.

Teachers in Washington are generally required to pay for union representation as a condition of employment. Teachers who decline to join the union must also pay union fees, but are given protections in state law to ensure protection of their First Amendment rights. Specifically, RCW 42.17.760 required unions to get permission from nonmembers before using their payments for political activity. (The legislature amended the law in 2007, significantly weakening its free speech protections for union-represented employees.)

World-class pontoon engineering advanced at Satsop test site

SATSOP, Wash. - Unbeknownst to many, the science of floating bridges is currently being advanced quietly on the hill at Satsop Development Park.
     And on some days, it’s quite a sight with workers scrambling on and over a smaller test section of the pontoons that will soon be manufactured as replacements for the State Route 520 Bridge that spans Lake Washington, connecting Seattle and Bellevue.
     The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) has determined that the 33 pontoons – the biggest ever built, each of them 75 feet wide by 360 feet long by 28.5 feet wide – will be manufactured in Grays Harbor County. Upon final environmental review, a pontoon casting facility will be built at either the “preferred” site of the former Weyerhaeuser log sorting yard in Aberdeen or the 90-acre alternative site in Hoquiam owned by the Anderson-Middleton Company.

Hundreds of Volunteers Expected Saturday for National Public Lands Day

OLYMPIA – Tomorrow, Saturday September 26,  marks the 16th annual celebration of National Public Lands Day, the largest annual coast-to-coast, single-day volunteer effort to improve America’s public lands. Nationwide, organizers expect nearly 130,000 volunteers to participate.

In Western Washington, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and partners are expecting hundreds of volunteers to spend the day clearing invasive plants, repairing trails, and picking up litter at three areas managed by DNR. Volunteers will even be removing abandoned vehicles from a state forest.

Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark will participate with volunteers at two of  DNR’s events: Tiger Mountain near Issaquah and then at Mima Mounds south of Olympia. The third event is at Yacolt Burn State Forest, north of Washougal.

Aberdeen Police Department Warns of A Bank Scam

The Aberdeen Police Department wants to warn the public of an apparent financial scam that was brought to our attention by an Aberdeen resident. 

The resident received a letter in the mail advising him that the sender was an “External Auditor for the Bank of Ireland” and that an investor with the same last name had died years ago. Through an audit, the Aberdeen resident had been chosen to reap the benefits of claiming some of the money.  The letter advised of 14.9 million United States dollars to claim and was sent without a return address. 

The sender of the letter offers to compensate the Aberdeen resident a 25 percent share for his collaborative efforts.  The prospective victim is advised that “utmost confidentiality is of vital importance if we are to successfully reap the immense benefits of this transaction.”