Tuesday, August 15, 2006

We won't be fooled screwed again Digging up the past under the Alaskan Way Viaduct
Significant archaeological finds, especially tribal burials, can delay or even kill a construction project.

The state is still smarting from its surprising find in 2003 of Tse-whit-zen, an Indian village and burial ground in Port Angeles. Construction was under way to build a dry dock when some 335 intact Indian skeletons were unearthed at the shoreline site. The state walked away from the unfinished project in 2004, after spending nearly $90 million.

No one expects a find like Tse-whit-zen under the viaduct, said Kate Stenberg, the state's environmental manager for the viaduct-replacement project. But the department isn't taking any chances, either, on a highway project that could cost between $2.5 billion and $4 billion.

More like $8 billion, but that's beside the point. I have a feeling the tribal consultations are more directed at CYA than any real quest for information; not that that's a bad thing, the more people are really involved the less likely they are to react in knee-jerk fashion.