(1) The department of transportation shall exercise all the powers and perform all the duties necessary, convenient, or incidental to the planning, locating, designing, constructing, improving, repairing, operating, and maintaining state highways, including bridges and other structures, culverts, and drainage facilities and channel changes necessary for the protection of state highways, and shall examine and allow or disallow bills, subject to the provisions of RCW 85.07.170
, for any work or services performed or materials, equipment, or supplies furnished.
(2) Subject to the limitations of RCW 4.24.115
, the department, in the exercise of any of its powers, may include in any authorized contract a provision for indemnifying the other contracting party against specific loss or damages arising out of the performance of the contract.
(3) The department is authorized to acquire property as provided by law and to construct and maintain thereon any buildings or structures necessary or convenient for the planning, design, construction, operation, maintenance, and administration of the state highway system and to acquire property and to construct and maintain any buildings, structures, appurtenances, and facilities necessary or convenient to the health and safety and for the accommodation of persons traveling upon state highways.
(4) The department is authorized to engage in planning surveys and may collect, compile, and analyze statistics and other data relative to existing and future highways and highway needs throughout the state, and shall conduct research, investigations, and testing as it deems necessary to improve the methods of construction and maintenance of highways and bridges.