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Washington State Transportation

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Image source: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/
The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) overviews the entire transportation network of the state to ensure safe and easy commuting of people and goods. WSDOT owns, manages and maintains numerous lane-miles of roadways, bridges, tunnels, rails and also responsible for air and water quality, communities and roadside cleanliness. The department also maintains good partnership with many public transportation systems to effectively serve the people and provide over millions of passenger trips a year. Some of the Federal and State funding include Nickel Funding, 2005 Transportation Partnerships Projects, ARRA Dashboard, TIGER Grants, and High Speed Passenger Rail. Washington transportation system comprises of state routes and highways, one of the largest ferry systems and waterways in the nation, state and private owned airports and railways.

Washington Road Transportation

The road transportation in Washington comprises of several interstate highways, state routes, bridges and tunnels. The Washington State Department of Transportation is striving to ensure safe, convenient transportation and also to provide easy connectivity to various cities and states. The department administers and maintains numerous state highways, bridges and also handles the world’s longest floating bridge project along with the widest tunneling project in the world. The mountain ranges in Washington poses certain challenges in constructing roads and bridges but the state’s dedicated transportation department builds and operates roads over seven major mountain passes and eight minor passes. Several safety measures, such as avalanche control are also taken up to ensure safety while traveling through these passes during winter seasons.
Image source: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov

Washington has primary routes and auxiliary routes that are part of the Interstate Highway System. These highways provide intercity connectivity across the state and also connect with the other states. Primary interstate highways include I-5, I-82 and I-90 and the auxiliary interstate highways are I-182, I-205, I-405, I-605, and I-705. Some of the important state routes include SR 3, SR 4, SR 8, SR 9, SR 14, SR 16, SR 17, SR 18, SR 22, SR 23, SR 24, SR 25, SR 26, SR 27, SR 28.

I-5: It runs from its border with Oregon to its border with Canada connecting the cities of Vancouver, Chehalis, Kelso,  Centralia, Olympia, Tumwater, Tacoma, Seattle, BellinghamEverett and Mount Vernon. It also serves as the primary connectivity route between Portland, Oregon, and Vancouver, in British Columbia.

I-82: It runs from I-90 in Ellensburg, Washington, to I-84 near Umatilla, Oregon, United States. In connects the Washington cities of Ellensburg, Yakima, Tri Cities, Umatilla and Hermiston. It also serves as the primary connectivity route westwards to Seattle and eastwards to Boise and Salt Lake City.

I-90: It runs from Seattle, Washington, to Boston, Massachusetts. It connects the Washington cities of Seattle, Bellevue, Issaquah, Ellensburg, Moses Lake, Ritzville, and Spokane.

The roads in Washington are built to serve people from all walks of life using various transportation modes. Various plans and programs are initiated and implemented by the Washington State Department of Transportation for effective, efficient, safe and convenient transportation of people and cargo.

Washington Bus Services

WSDOT works to identify needs and implement techniques that improve the value of the state wide bus transportation system. Bus is an efficient and affordable mode of transportation for people from all walks of life.

Intercity bus services are provided by Greyhound Lines, Travel Washington Gold Line, Travel Washington Apple Line, Travel Washington Grape Line and Travel Washington Dungeness Line.

Shuttle Services:

Bus Route
Image source: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov, View a larger image
Listed below are some important programs and projects.

Image source: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov


The Adopt-A-Highway-Program provides a great opportunity for individuals, organizations, schools or businesses to help maintain cleanliness of all roads within Washington State Highway System and also plant trees or wildflowers, and helps remove graffiti, to make roads more appealing. The program is a successful government-public partnership program and various schools, social groups, business entities and religious groups actively adopt and participate in the program. The program helps to keeps the state clean by effectively reminding people not to litter, and also assist in saving taxpayers’ money.

Learn more on: Adopt-A-Highway Program

Washington State Bicycle Facilities and Pedestrian Walkways Plan

The Washington State Department of Transportation initiated the Bicycle Facilities and Pedestrian Walkways Plan to provide safer facilities for pedestrians and bicyclists, to improve the roadways for biking and walking. The program promotes more walking and biking in people's daily life to incorporate health lifestyle and also to reduce pollutants from cars and trucks and improve air quality of the state.

In fact, bicycling is a hugely accepted transportation system and the League of American Bicyclists named Washington State as the nation's number one "Bicycle Friendly State" for the seventh year in a row.

Also read:
Image source: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov

Washington State Bicycle Laws

Washington State Highways Closed to Bicycles

Washington State Pedestrian Laws

Sustainable transportation program

Pollutants emitted from cars, trucks, planes, and ships have resulted in the marked increase of pollution in Washington. Nearly half of the total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Washington is due to emissions from transportation-related activities. WSDOT is dedicated to develop effective and balanced emission reduction strategies to preserve the environment.

The Sustainable transportation program is working to make transportation more sustainable through integrating modes of transit , ride sharing , bicycling, new technology to conserve fuel and energy, minimize carbon emissions and protect our natural environment, manages traffic flow through busy traffic points, and using recycled building materials and extending the lifespan of roads and bridges.

For more information, call Seth Stark - WSDOT Sustainable Transportation Manager at
360-628-7611 or E-mail at Seth.stark@wsdot.wa.gov.

Also read: Sustainable Transportation Action Plan

Washington State Scenic and Recreational Highway Programs

Washington State is among the pioneers that started Scenic highway programs. The main mission and goal of the scenic highway program is to safeguard and improve the natural scenic beauty of the highways of California including its adjacent corridors. The program adopts a special conservation treatment to protect the roads and all the corridors from encroachment such as junkyards, dumps, concrete plants, and gravel pits, proper landscaping or screening, prohibit billboards and graffiti, environmental friendly developments, regulate grading to prevent erosion alteration in contours, preserve important vegetative, hillsides, provide a local transportation vehicle to promote local tourism.

Also read:

State Scenic & Recreational Highways Plan

Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) Projects

Washington Air Transportation

Washington Air Transportation is a major mode that offers all round efficient and easy intercity and interstate connectivity. The Federal Aviation Administration authorizes and oversees all flight operations in Washington State. The Washington State Department of Transportation owns and maintains 16 state airports, of which nine are owned by state, three are owned and operated by special use permit, three are leased out, and one is operated through a right of entry [1].

The major airports in Washington State include-

  • Bellingham International Airport
  • Friday Harbor
  • William R. Fairchild International Airport
  • Tri-Cities Airport
  • Spokane International Airport,
  • Pullman/Moscow Regional Airport
  • King County International Airport
  • Seattle–Tacoma International Airport
  • Yakima Air Terminal (McAllister Field)
  • Walla Walla Regional Airport
  • Pangborn Memorial Airport

Image source: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov

Seattle–Tacoma International Airport

Seattle–Tacoma International Airport (SEA) is the 15th busiest airport in the United States and ranked 22st in cargo operations in the nation. SEA is an important hub for trade and transportation and serves Seattle, Tacoma and the entire Western Washington. Some of the major destinations SEA serves include Tokyo (Narita), Japan, Vancouver (Canada), Amsterdam, Netherlands, Seoul (Incheon), South Korea, London (Heathrow), United Kingdom, Beijing (China), Victoria (Canada), Frankfurt (Germany), Dubai (International), and Calgary, Canada. The top airlines that operate to and from SEA are-

Air Canada (including Air Canada Jazz):800 247-2262
Alaska Airlines: 800 426-0333
American Airlines: 800 433-7300
AMC (Air Mobility Command)
All Nippon Airways800 235-9262
Asiana Airlines800 227-4262
British Airways800 247-9297
Condor866 960-7915
Delta Air Lines (including Delta Connection)800 221-1212
Emirates800 777 3999
EVA Air800 695-1188
Frontier Airlines800 432-1359
Hainan Airlines888 688-8813
Hawaiian Airlines800 367-5320
Icelandair800 223-5500
JetBlue Airways800 538-2583
Korean Air800 438-5000
Lufthansa Airlines800 645-3880
Southwest Airlines800 435-9792
Sun Country Airlines800 359-6786
United Airlines (including United Express)800 864-8331
US Airways800 428-4322
Virgin America877 359-8474

Contact Details:
17801 International Blvd.(Pacific Highway So.)
Seattle, WA 98158
Phone: (206) 787-5388 or (800) 544-1965
Website: http://www.portseattle.org/Sea-Tac/Pages/default.aspx

Bellingham International Airport

Bellingham International Airport(BLI)is the third-largest commercial airport in Washington and is located in Whatcom County, Washington. The major destinations it serve are Las Vegas, Nevada, Seattle/Tacoma, Washington, Honolulu, Hawaii, Oakland, California, Palm Springs, California, Phoenix, Arizona (AZA), Los Angeles, California, Kahului, Hawaii, Portland, Oregon, Denver, and Colorado.

The top airlines that operate to and from BLI include-

  • Alaska Air: (800) 252-7522
    Image source: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov
  • Allegiant Air: (702) 505-8888
  • Frontier Airlines: (800) 432-1359

Contact details:
4255 Mitchell Way,
Suite 206, Bellingham,
WA 98226
Phone: 360-671-5674
Website: http://www.portofbellingham.com/27/Airport

Spokane International Airport

Spokane International Airport (GEG) is the second largest commercial airport located west of downtown Spokane. GEG is jointly owned by Spokane County and the City of Spokane and serves Spokane, Eastern Washington, Coeur d'Alene, and North Idaho. The top airlines that operate to and from GEG are Alaska Airlines, Alaska Airlines operated by Horizon Air Portland, Delta Connection, Delta Air Lines, United ExpressSouthwest Airlines, United Airlines and US Airways.

Some of the top destinations it serve include-

  • Seattle/Tacoma (Washington)
  • Denver (Colorado)
  • Portland (Oregon)
  • Salt Lake City (Utah)
  • Minneapolis/St. Paul (Minnesota)
  • Phoenix (Arizona)
  • Las Vegas( Nevada)
  • Oakland (California)
  • Boise ( Idaho)
  • Los Angeles (California)

Contact Details:
9000 West Airport Drive
Suite 204
Spokane, WA 99224
Phone: 509-455-6455
Fax: 509-624-6633

William R. Fairchild International Airport

William R. Fairchild International Airport (CLM) is an airport owned by the Port of Port Angeles and is located near Port Angeles, in Clallam County, Washington. The airport is owned by. CLM is a serves as passenger and cargo transportation, emergency services, disaster response, recreational activities, and also provides jobs to many. Kenmore Air currently connects Port Angeles, Washington to the Seattle / Tacoma area and beyond. CLM also encompasses a flight school called Rite Brother's Aviation that provides flight training.

Contact Details:
338 W. First St.
Port Angeles,
WA 98362
Jerry Ludke ( Airport & Marina Manager)
Phone: 360-417-3363
Website: http://www.portofpa.com/Index.aspx?NID=109

Also read: Kenmore Air or call at 866-435-9524 or 360-452-6371

For more information on Rite Brother’s Aviation School, call at 360-452-6226 or 800-430-7483.

Listed below are some of the state owned and managed airports

  • Bandera State Airport
  • Copalis Beach State Airport
  • Easton State Airport
    Image source: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov
  • Lake Wenatchee State Airport
  • Little Goose State Airport
  • Lower Granite State Airport
  • Lower Monumental State Airport
  • Methow Valley State Airport
  • Ranger Creek State Airport
  • Skykomish State Airport
  • Stehekin State Airport
  • Sullivan Lake State Airport
  • Tieton State Airport
  • Woodland State Airport
  • Rogersburg State Airport

Contact Details of WSDOT Aviation Division:
7702 Terminal Street
Tumwater, WA 98501
Phone: (360) 709-8015 or (800) 552-0666-Toll Free In State Only
Fax: (360) 709-8009

Washington Rail Transportation

The Rail Division under Washington State Department of Transportation oversees the rail transportation in Washington. The railways in Washington serve the people of Washington to provide convenient intercity and interstate connectivity. Additionally, the railways are an important mode for freight movements. Some of the important types of Rail services serving the state are mentioned below.

Amtrak Cascades

Amtrak Cascades serves as a major passenger rail route in Washington. It is operated by Amtrak in partnership with the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and Oregon Departments of Transportation (ODOT) in the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia.

Amtrak Cascade is among the top 10 busiest route of Amtrak and service connects 18 cities in the Pacific Northwest region. The name Cascade is given after the Cascade mountain range that the route passes in parallel to. The Pacific Northwest Rail Corridor (PNWRC) extends from Vancouver, British Columbia to Eugene, Oregon via Bellingham, Mount Vernon, Seattle, Centralia, Portland.
Image source: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov, View a larger image

Learn more on: Amtrak Cascades

View: Amtrak Cascades Route Map

View: Amtrak Cascades Schedules

Contact Details:

Washington State Department of Transportation
PO Box 47407
Olympia, WA 98504-7407
E-mail: rail@wsdot.wa.gov
Website: www.wsdot.wa.gov/Freight

Oregon State Department of Transportation
555 13th St SE
Salem, OR 97301- 3871
E-mail: raildivision@odot.state.or.us
Website: www.oregon.gov/ODOT/rail_truck_freight

Commuter Rail Trains

Commuter trains provide passenger service that connects central cities and their suburbs. This rail is conveniently operated to connect riders to work places, schools or make trips for other quick daily errands. Commuter trains frequently share certain stations with Amtrak intercity trains and utilize the same rail-tracks as freight trains.

The state is served by three types of commuter trains, namely Sound Transit's Sounder Commuter Trains, Sound Transit Link Light Rail and Sound Transit's longer Central Link.

Sound Transit Sounder Commuter Trains operates on the same rail-racks as freight trains and Amtrak. It connects commuter between Tacoma and downtown Seattle with stops in Auburn, Puyallup, Sumner, Tukwila and Kent, and between Everett and downtown Seattle with stops in Edmonds and Mukilteo.

Sound Transit Link Light Rail is a free rail ride that connects commuters between downtown Tacoma and the Tacoma Dome in a frequency of 10 minutes. Sound Transit sponsors all rides and operates without any track sharing with any other trains.

Sound Transit's longer Central Link connects commuters between downtown Seattle, and residential and commercial areas around the Rainier Valley, Beacon Hill,  Sea Tac city and Tukwila.

Learn more on: Sound Transit or call at 888-889-6368 or TTY Relay 711

Washington Light Rail

Light Rail is a low passenger carrier that links commuters within the city and its suburbs and runs at a frequent interval. Light rail operates only in frequently traveled hours, during the day, weekends and evenings and has its own track but sometimes shares right of way with automobiles.

Washington Monorail

Monorail is an elevated rail having a single track for passenger or freight vehicles. The Seattle Monorail is Washington's only monorail that connects riders from downtown Seattle to Seattle Center.

Washington Water Transportation

The water transportation in Washington is one of the most important mode of transportation in Washington. It plays vital role in the economic growth of the state and connects communities across Washington state and also to British Columbia. There are many waterways in Seattle, Bellevue, Tacoma and Olympia. Several bridges are constructed and also incorporate many ferry system to serve the transportation needs of people and goods. Washington State Ferry system is the largest in the United States that serves eight Washington counties.

Image source: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov
Washington is proud to present the four longest floating bridges in the world, namely-

  • The Evergreen Point Floating Bridge

  • Homer M. Hadley Memorial Bridge over Lake Washington

  • Lacey V. Murrow Memorial Bridge

  • The Hood Canal Bridge which connects the Olympic Peninsula and Kit sap Peninsula

Washington State Ferries

Washington State Ferries (WSF) operates as a part of the Washington State Department of Transportation and provides automobile and passenger ferry services. Washington State Ferries (WSF) is served by a fleet of 28 ferries and encompasses 10 routes and 20 terminals located on the Puget Sound and in the San Juan Islands [2].

Important Information on Washington State Ferries

  • All vehicles to be transported should be ready and lined up at least 20 minutes prior to scheduled departure time and are loaded in order of arrival with a few exceptions.

  • Over sized vehicles that are over 7’6” in height or over 22’ in length, with tall antennas may be loaded out of order and are charged higher fees. Vehicles need prior 12 inches of clearance from the ground or else may not be allowed to load. Also prior travel approval is mandatory for trucks with a gross vehicle weight of more than 80,000 lbs before crossing any of the routes.

    Learn more on: Oversized Vehicles and Trucks

  • Bicycles and individuals accompanying with kayaks or canoes must wait near the loading area as they are usually loaded first.

  • Pets are allowed only in a pet container with the exception of that of service animals which are allowed in terminal buildings or interior cabin spaces on vessels.

    Learn more on: Pet policy and law

  • Prohibited items on-board the ferry include Hazardous Materials, Explosives or Incendiary Devices, Chemical, Biological or Radiological Agents or Devices, Unlawful or Illegally Possessed Firearms, Illegal Fireworks and Acetylene Tanks.
    Image source: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov

Contact Details:
Washington State Ferries
2901 Third Avenue Suite 500
Seattle WA 98121-3014
Phone: Dial 5-1-1 or 1.888.808.7977 or 1.800.843.3779
Out of State: 206.464.6400
Website: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries/

Persons with hearing or vision impairments may call one of the following numbers:

1.800.833.6385 (Tele-Braille)
1.800.833.6384 (Voice) Extension -3460

Also read:

Washington State Ferries Destination guide

Fare information

Schedule Information by Date

Customs and Immigration Help lines:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection: 360-293-2331
Canadian Customs and Immigration: 800-461-9999 (from Canada)
Canadian Border Service: 204-983-3500

Please consult the following authorities prior to the trip.

Some of the other notable ferry system includes
Image source: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov, View a larger image

Guemes Island Ferry
1800 Continental Place, Suite 100
Mount Vernon, WA 98273
Phone: (360) 336 - 9300
E-mail: commissioners@co.skagit.wa.us

Puget Sound Express
Phone: (360) 385-5288

San Juan Island Commuter
Bellingham Cruise Terminal
355 Harris Ave,
Suite #104
Bellingham, WA 98225
Phone: Toll Free 800.443.4552 | 360.738.8099

San Juan Island Shuttle Express
1801 Commercial Avenue
Anacortes, WA 98221
Phone: Toll Free at 1-800-465-4604
Local: 1-360-293-2428
Fax: 1-360-299-8708
Email: whales@islandadventurecruises.com

Ferry Wahkiakum
64 Main Street, Cathlamet, WA 98612
Phone: 360-795-3301
Fax: 360-795-0342
E-mail: pedersenp@co.wahkiakum.wa.us

King County Ferry District
516 Third Avenue Room W-1200
Seattle WA 98104
Phone: 206-477-1024

Contact Details of Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT):

WSDOT Headquarters Mailing Address
310 Maple Park Avenue SE
P.O. Box 47300
Olympia, WA 98504-7300

WSDOT Headquarters Receptionist
Phone: 360-705-7000

WSDOT Headquarters Customer Service
Phone: 360-705-7438
E-mail: hqcustomerservice@wsdot.wa.gov

Locate: Washington Department of Transportation Offices

  1. Washington State Airports
  2. Washington State Ferry
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