New state transportation chief orders review of megaprojects, including CRC

Recommendations for improvements will be made by Sept. 30

By Eric Florip, Columbian transportation & environment reporter

Published:

 
photoLynn Peterson

Newly named state Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson on Thursday announced a broad review of three active megaprojects, including the Columbia River Crossing.

The "comprehensive program assessment" will look at the process used for key project decisions and how they are documented, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation. In addition to the $3.4 billion CRC, the review will focus on two Seattle-area projects: the state Highway 520 bridge replacement and the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement.

The review will be led by Ron Paananen of engineering firm CH2M Hill Inc., according to WSDOT. CH2M Hill, however, is a paid consultant that has received money from the CRC. And Paananen is a former WSDOT administrator who worked directly on both the Highway 520 and Alaskan Way Viaduct projects.

Recommendations for improvements will be made by Sept. 30, according to WSDOT. Peterson will also receive weekly updates throughout the process, the agency said.

The CRC would replace the Interstate 5 Bridge, rebuild freeway interchanges on both sides of the Columbia River and extend light rail into Vancouver.