SDOT, WSDOT will spend $1 million to fence Seattle highways

SEATTLE  — City and state transportation departments are spending more than $1 million on fences aimed at keeping homeless people separated from highways in Seattle.

The Seattle Times reports fencing crews have cordoned off areas under highways in the city with 10-foot (3-meter) fences that are designed to be difficult to climb.

The Washington State Department of Transportation is spending $527,000 on the project while the city is paying $570,000.

Department spokesman Travis Phelps says the state agency is working with cities and other jurisdictions to "make sure that folks who are experiencing homelessness and other issues are not camping underneath highways and other spots, and putting themselves at risk."

Officials with service organizations say the fences do not address the homelessness issue but only shift people or problems elsewhere.