Shoreline is home to NW Region HQ for state department of Transportation

Saturday, April 17, 2010

You may not realize it, but Shoreline is home to the Northwest Region Headquarters for the Washington State Department of Transportation. It is that seven-story, gold, 70’s style building behind Sears on N 160th St and Dayton Ave N.

At its peak, 650 people worked in this building. It has shrunk a little since the downturn in the economy. Twenty-nine people who work at this building also live in Shoreline. Ten walk to work, six ride the bus and three carpool.

The State bought the building from Blue Cross of Alaska and Washington in 1990 for $11.7 million and spent two years renovating and called it home in 1992. The building is about 165,000 square feet.

Statewide headquarters for WSDOT is in Olympia, of course, but the Northwest Region Headquarters oversees a huge subarea. 
“We are responsible for the state highways and interstates from North Bend to Puget Sound including Whidbey, Bainbridge, and the San Juan Islands. Our north end is Canada and our south end is the King/Pierce county line,” said Jamie Holter, Communications Manager.
They build bridges and widen highways, stripe roads, hang signs, keep the ramp meters running, signals working, guardrail in place. They put informational messages on the electronic signs and tell us how long it will take to get to south to Seattle or north to Lynnwood. They keep I-5 and Highway 104 clear when it snows.

Jamie says the big wow factor always comes when people visit the Traffic Management Center. It is the nerve center for traffic control. There are dozens of televisions to monitor congestion. They have access to nearly 400 closed circuit cameras on state highways and in all the tunnels. We can only see about 100 of them due to bandwidth issues. “If we put all our cameras online it would take five minutes to load each one and that wouldn’t do drivers any good,” says Holter. Their dispatch center is in direct contact with Washington State Patrol and is open 24/7/365

They try to be good citizens of Shoreline. They coordinated the placement of two bus shelters about four years ago on Dayton Avenue. WSDOT also manages ADOPT-a-STOP near the Dayton building. That means they clean the bus stop and empty the garbage cans. Since WSDOT adopted these stops, there has been an increase in ridership.

The blood mobile comes four times a year. You can give blood there if you want. They have a credit union, Transportation Northwest, on the second floor. The building has parking out front and is easily accessible. They give tours to local school kids. They have fundraising events for the statewide Combined Fund Drive, the statewide charitable fundraiser. State employees have contributed a total of $89 million to local, national and international charities in 14 years. And they have a nice campus with trees and grassy areas.

The people who work in this building area proud of what they do. They invite you to take a look at their website and drop them a note anytime.  Email.
Information and photo courtesy Jamie Holter, WSDOT

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