SEATTLE -- If you think you're seeing more road construction than ever, you may be right. In fact, the Washington State Department of Transportation, like weather forecasters, has assigned zones to the degree in which road and other construction impacts from office buildings and condos impact traffic.
They're called Hot Spots, but they are actually large areas that perhaps look more like zones. There is a hot zone for Seattle, another that incorporates much of the east side known as the North Lake Washington hot zone. Heading south, there's the North Pierce County hot zone, and around Sea-Tac Airport, there's a construction "watch."
On the WSDOT website you can open up maps of not only construction projects, but events like marathons and events that also impact traffic.
Planning for these projects starts over a year in advance, says the WSDOT. And WSDOT traffic planners regularly meet with Seattle, King County and other counties and municipalities trying to coordinate impacts, to keep traffic moving as much as possible.
As the Highway 99 tunnel finishes up in 2016, along with the 520 Bridge across Lake Washington, the hot spot gets better. But expect growth in smaller scope maintenance projects to increase. As for more office buildings and condo construction, that depends on how much planners can stand.