Northwest Briefly: No further settling of Alaskan Way Viaduct

  • Sun Apr 4th, 2010 9:03pm
  • News

SEATTLE — The latest inspection of Seattle’s Alaskan Way Viaduct shows no further settling or structural damage.

State Transportation Department crews closed the roadway during a weekend last month to measure existing cracks and settlement. Workers also performed some routine maintenance by removing loose concrete, repairing expansion joints and covering exposed rebar.

In April 2008, workers strenghthened four support column foundations because they had settled approximately 5½ inches since the 2001 Nisqually earthquake.

DOT crews conduct inspections every three months to monitor the viaduct’s condition.

Workers this summer will begin replacing the viaduct between South Holgate and South King streets with a new side-by-side roadway that has wider lanes and meets earthquake standards.

3 men dead, woman injured in early-morning car crash

Seattle police said three men are dead and one woman is hospitalized with life-threatening injuries after an early Sunday morning car crash.

Seattle police said there’s indication the Chevy Camaro they were riding was traveling at high speed before colliding with a steel pole, at about 4:40 a.m. Sunday.

The occupants have not been identified. Police said all three men who died were in their twenties. The woman was taken to Harborview Medical Center with life-threatening injuries.

Police have not determined if alcohol played a factor.

Seattle restaurant reopens after facade collapse injures 3

A Seattle restaurant opened one day after a portion of its facade collapsed and struck three people.

The Icon Grill reopened at noon Saturday. Meanwhile, a local actor named John McKenna remained hospitalized for injuries suffered when a portion of the building sheared off Friday morning.

McKenna’s son told The Seattle Times that his father has a broken shoulder, a broken toe, 13 broken ribs and two spinal fractures. He’s uncomfortable and in pain.

A swath of bricks tumbled from the three-story building that houses the restaurant. The two other people struck by falling debris were not seriously injured.

Olympia: Legislature OKs tax increase for 911 upgrades

State lawmakers have approved a bill that lets counties and the state increase taxes on land lines and cell phones to pay for 911 system upgrades.

Voice-over-Internet phone services would be taxed as well under the bill, which got final approval from the state House on a 56-34 vote Friday.

Once it’s signed into law by Gov. Chris Gregoire, the measure will allow counties to increase their 911 excise tax to 70 cents per month, up from the current 50 cents. The state tax would increase 5 cents, to 25 cents per month. The money would help modernize 911 systems, especially in rural counties.

Utilities commission approves higher rates for PSE customers

State regulators have approved rate increases for Puget Sound Energy natural-gas and electric customers.

The Olympian reported that the three-member Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission allowed a 2.8 percent rate increase for electric customers and a 0.8 percent for gas users.

The utility company had asked for a 7.4 percent increase for electric rates and 2.2 percent for gas. The approved rates will likely go into effect next week.

The commission also approved increases in the fee customers pay for the company’s conservation program and basic service charges.

Bellingham: Deputies bust cockfighting operation

Authorities said 14 people are under arrest after they raided a cockfight in Bellingham.

Whatcom Humane Society Director Laura Clark said her office received a tip about a cockfight Saturday and contacted sheriff’s deputies who launched a raid.

Sheriff Bill Elfo said a helicopter was used to nab some of the suspects, others were caught hiding in the rafters of the barn used for the fighting.

He said the 14 suspects are facing animal-fighting charges, which are Class C felonies. He suspects that they all had organized or attended similar fights in the past.

Clark said Humane Society workers treated eight of the birds that were used in the fighting, but four others were so badly hurt they had to be euthanized.

Yakima: After shoplifting, man to spend life in jail

A 62-year-old Yakima County man will spend the rest of his life in prison after getting a third strike on his criminal record.

The Yakima Herald-Republic reported that Elodio Rizo was sentenced Friday in Yakima County Superior Court on convictions for first-degree robbery and two counts of first-degree assault. Rizo was arrested after a shoplifting incident at a Sears more than two years ago where shots were fired.

Rizo’s previous strikes were both for second-degree assaults. He also entered the country after being deported.

In 2007, Rizo and an accomplice shoplifted bottles of perfumes valued at $165 from the Sears in Union Gap. After two store guards attempted to stop them, Rizo shot at the officers. He did not hit them.

Idaho man hit by stray bullet in Yakima dies

A 20-year-old Idaho man is dead after being hit by a stray bullet in Yakima.

Kyle Flerchinger, of Orofino, was smoking a cigarette last Tuesday night in the back yard of a home where he was staying when a bullet struck him in the back of the neck. Police say the shot was fired from about a block away and was intended for another man. No arrests have been made.

Associated Press