With 2012 in the rearview mirror, we further contemplate our wishes for the new year. Here are some headlines and stories we hope to see in 2013:
NO NEW TOLL HIKES
Despite the perfect storm of growing bond payments and flat traffic volumes, the state Department of Transportation has decided against hiking tolls on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge this year. The move comes as something of a surprise, given the bridge’s citizen advisory committee met in November during a two-hour work session to discuss raising tolls to cross the eastbound portion of the span for a second consecutive year.
Unfortunately, the WSDOT’s display of mercy on commuters doesn’t change the fact that bridge construction must be paid for.
Transportation officials said they are considering a number of options, including state Rep. Jan Angel’s proposal to sell naming rights to the bridge, or taking advantage of any clout new Congressman Derek Kilmer of Gig Harbor might have in the U.S. House of Representatives to secure federal funding.
WOLLOCHET DRIVE CONSTRUCTION DONE
Drivers can breathe a collective sigh of relief now that all Wollochet Drive NW road projects have been completed.
The two projects carried out by Pierce County Public Works and Utilities — East Bay Drive NW to Fillmore Drive NW, and 40th Street NW to East Bay Drive NW — have snarled traffic and delayed commute times for the better part of two years.
Wollochet Drive now has three lanes between 40th Street and Artondale Drive, and four lanes from Artondale Drive to East Bay Drive.
There also are new turn lanes and improved traffic signals at intersections, concrete curbs and sidewalks, additional street lighting, an enclosed storm drain system and storm water treatment along the entire section.
The $6.6 million project was mandated by the county’s obligation to relieve congestion on roadways in unincorporated areas.
SCHOOL DISTRICT HAS UNEVENTFUL YEAR
The Peninsula School District took the unusual step of issuing a news release about what didn’t happen during the 2012-13 school year.
There was no controversial firing of a popular sports coach, no school officials were involved in any DUIs, and there were no new incidents of out-of-control horseplay that came to light.
Superintendent Chuck Cuzzetto, who earlier this year had the word “acting” removed from his official title, said he was glad it was a year free of controversy.
“I could really get used to this,” he said.
AL PACINO WOWS AT FILM FESTIVAL
Julie Andrews and Gig Harbor’s own Josh Lucas have made memorable appearances at the Gig Harbor Film Festival the past two years, but this year’s special guest, Oscar-winning actor Al Pacino, kicked up the star power to megawatt levels.
Galaxy Theatres at Uptown Gig Harbor resembled a Hollywood premiere, with throngs of people crowding the area and blinding camera flashes as photographers sought to get pictures of the legendary 73-year-old thespian, star of such films as “The Godfather” trilogy, “Scarface” and “Heat.” He won an Academy Award for Best Actor in 1992 for his role in “Scent of a Woman.”
Pacino’s visit on the film festival’s opening night drew a crowd of thousands and was the talk of the town for months leading up to the event.
The actor was in town to promote his upcoming film, “The Irishman.”
SEAHAWKS WIN FIRST SUPER BOWL
Exorcising the demons of their 2006 Super Bowl XL loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Seattle Seahawks claimed their first Vince Lombardi Trophy with a lopsided 50-7 victory over the New England Patriots at Super Bowl XLVII.
Hey, we said these are headlines we hope to see in 2013.