Slowdown Lowdown

We're stuck in traffic so you don't have to be

NOTICE: Slowdown Lowdown has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved Slowdown Lowdown.
Visit the new section.

Archives: Dec. 2010

Dec.
21st

Gravel truck loses its load in Sumner

A truck hauling gravel lost its load just before 5 p.m., blocking the off-ramp to eastbound state Route 410 in Sumner.

Drivers are getting around it on the shoulder but the delays are adding to heavy traffic in the area, the state Department of Transportation reported.

The truck was traveling south on state Route 167 and was approaching the off-ramp to SR 410 when the gravel was lost.

Dec.
21st

Collision on I-705 on-ramp causes traffic back up

UPDATE: WSDOT now reports that all lanes are open.

INITIAL POST: Drivers stopping to look at a collision on the on-ramp from southbound Interstate 705 to southbound Interstate 5 are causing six miles of backed up traffic.

The 4:25 p.m. collision is blocking the right lane of the on-ramp and traffic is backed up to the King County line, according to the state Department of Transportation.

Dec.
20th

Crash backs up southbound I-5 for 4 miles

UPDATE: Lanes cleared but backup will take time to dissipate.

An earlier two-car collision partially blocks the right lane of southbound Interstate at milepost 138 in Fife, the Washington State Department of Transportation reports..
The Washington State Patrol and fire units are on scene.
There is approximately a 4-mile backup from 54th Avenue to State route 18.

Dec.
18th

Updated: Numerous fallen trees blocking SR 706 between Elbe and Mount Rainier National Park

The WSDOT said numerous downed trees are being reported across the roadway on State Route 705 Saturday morning. The trees are blocking the highway from mileposts 0 to 13.64.

WSDOT maintenance crews have been on the scene since 7 a.m. Access is available for emergency responders, but all other drivers should avoid this area if possible as there is no detour available nearby. It is unknown when the area will be cleared.

9:20 A.M. UPDATE: WSDOT maintenance crews are still on the scene. Downed trees remain, but a single lane has reopened on SR 706 with areas that

Read more »

Dec.
17th

Traffic Q&A: What’s the deal with the flashing yellow arrows?

Question: Robert Staeger of Vancouver is curious about a new type of traffic signal he’s encountered.

“Recently I observed in the Hillsboro, Ore., area left-turn arrow signals changing to flashing amber after a short period (apparently allowing for the initial wave of oncoming traffic to pass through). This seems like a good idea to me. Is this a new idea? Is it done in Washington State?”

Answer: The flashing yellow left-turn arrows have started to appear nationally in recent years. The new left turn signals have four phases: green (protected turn), solid yellow (prepare to stop), red (stop) and flashing yellow, which permits a left turn, but only after yielding to pedestrians and oncoming traffic (which has a green light). Trial studies showed that the lights were effective in reducing motorist confusion and traffic accidents, while improving traffic flow.

Oregon localities, including Washington County west of Portland, were among the first to embrace the new signals. And they’ve spread to several Washington locations, including Kitsap County, Everett, Bellevue, Kennewick and Vancouver.

Federal Way piloted its first yellow flashing yellow arrow signals in 2006, shortly after federal and state authorities begin allowing them under an interim rule, according to Rick Perez, the city’s traffic engineer. The city just turned on its ninth last week and had plans to install more in the next year.

Read more »

Dec.
17th

Lanes blocked on SR 512 near South Hill Mall

UPDATE: All lanes are cleared.

A chipper truck has lost its load and debris blocks all eastbound lanes on State route 512 by the South Hill Mall, the Washington State Department of Transportation reports.

Washington State Patrol is en route. Drivers should expect delays or seek alternate routes.