The finger-pointing is now in full swing over a dreaded set of Interstate 90 lane closures that will start this Friday. Three of the four westbound lanes near Bellevue Way will shut down for an entire week, and the state's reluctance to suspend the tolls on State Route 520 during that time period has people fired up.
The latest round of criticism came after the Seattle Weekly ran a story on Monday, with a headline that read 'WSDOT Never Told the Transportation Commission it was Shrinking I-90 to One Lane.'
In it, Reema Griffith, the Executive Director of the Washington State Transportation Commission, is quoted as saying that the commission didn't know about the upcoming I-90 work until it was in the media last week. The Seattle Weekly article said she went on to say that if WSDOT had let the commission know sooner, they might have been able to have some discussions on whether to suspect tolls on the 520 bridge.
The story immediately got some strong responses on social media, both from drivers who've been asking the commission to suspend tolls on 520 during the I-90 project and also from WSDOT.
WSDOT emphatically denied the claim and tweeted multiple times that the commission was made aware of the upcoming closures.
WSDOT then shared with KING 5 an email detailing the shutdown of three lanes on I-90 that was dated July 1st. It was sent to a long list of recipients, including Reema Griffith.
By Monday evening, Griffith appeared to change her story, telling KING5 that the commission was made aware of the I-90 lane closures a couple of weeks ago and directing us to the commission's official statement regarding the impact of suspending tolls on the 520 bridge for a full week.
The statement says that doing so would result in a loss of revenue of $1.3 million that is needed to fund construction of the new 520 bridge.
The Washington State Transportation Commission has a meeting set for Tuesday at 9 a.m. in Olympia. You can also contact the transportation commission on this issue via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.