Mapper's Musings
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Mapper's Musings

March 30, 2011

A bill to shorten SR 527 is working its way through the state legislature. The southern end from SR 522 in downtown Bothell to I-405 will be dropped from the state highway system if the bill passes.

The 2011-2012 Official State Highway Map will only be available online and not as a paper map due to budget cuts. The new map is being produced using GIS. The 1989 through 2008-2009 maps were drafted in CAD, specifically MicroStation. The new map should be available in time for the summer travel season.

February 21, 2010

SR 908 may soon be history. Senate Bill 6555 and House Bill 2918 would drop the remainder of SR 908 from the state highway system. It appears that the bills are passing. If the governor approves, such bills normally become effective within 90 days.

January 18, 2010

My email address is now markthemapper@gmail.com

March 28, 2009

This month marks the 10th anniversary of this website. Thanks to all who have visited this site over the last decade.

House and senate bills have been introduced in the 2009 legislative session to make the so-called Intertie in the south end of the Tri-Cities area an extension of SR 397. HB 1000 has passed the house and SB 5234 is in committee in the senate. Phase 1 of Link Light Rail in the Seattle area is tentatively scheduled to open on July 3. The first drivable link of the North Spokane Corridor (NSC), future US 395, is scheduled to open in August. I plan to attend both ribbon cuttings and to take photos. Thanks again for visiting this site.

March 2, 2008

Happy New Year! Oh wait, it's already March! In January I traveled south to the junction of ORE 99E and ORE 99W in Junction City. In February I headed north to within a few hundred feet of the US-Canadian border in Sumas and Blaine. The power lines and phone lines have been relocated on either side of SR 539 from the north end of Bellingham to the vicinity of SR 544 to make way for the widening of SR 539 from a 2 lane to a 4 lane highway divided by a center two-way left turn median. Construction on a second phase of widening from SR 544 to Lynden is scheduled for completion by 2010 in time for the Winter Olympics. This second phase will consist of a 4 lane divided highway, a roundabout at the SR 539/SR 544 junction, and a new 2 lane bridge across the Nooksack River parallel to the existing bridge.

See my new SR 517 page in response to an email comment that I received.

July 31, 2007

The New Tacoma Narrows Bridge opening celebration was held Sunday, July 15th. The crowd that showed up was estimated by some to be as large as 60,000 people. Yes, I got a piece of the ribbon (along with thousands of other people). Here is a photo of Secretary of Transportation Doug MacDonald, now retired from WSDOT, and me with some ribbon. The photo was taken by Chief of Staff, now acting Secretary of Transportation, Paula Hammond.

June 14, 2007

Today is the 100th birthday of the first service station built by the Standard Oil Company of California, the company now known as Chevron Corporation. This station was built adjacent to the Standard Oil bulk plant in Seattle. Some claim that this was the first service station in the world but others claim that Shell had opened the first service station in Saint Louis in 1905. In any case, happy 100th birthday to Chevron / Standard gas stations. Details about the history of Chevron's gas stations is a vailable at Chevron's corporate website, www.chevron.com.

The new Tacoma Narrows Bridge ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled for Sunday, July 15th, 2007. I was at the ground breaking ceremony and plan on being at the grand opening ceremony. Details about the bridge are available at the Washington State Department of Transportation website, www.wsdot.wa.gov.

November 26, 2006

The biggest Washington State highway news of the last few months is not really so much about highway changes as it is about official recognition. I'm talking about the approval in October 2006 by AASHTO to sections of 3 US Highway routes in Washington State. AASHTO's records now match the way that WSDOT posts US 12 in the Tri-Cities area, Alt US 101 near Ilwaco, and US 197 west of Maryhill. The issue of the North Spokane Corridor (freeway) was mentioned at AASHTO's meeting of the Special Committee on US Route Numbering. WSDOT's Eastern Region Office asked that a formal application not be made yet for moving US 395 to the new freeway. The Region is exploring route numbering options with local officials. When the first phase of the new freeway is closer to its scheduled completion of Fall 2008, WSDOT will make a formal request to AASHTO for a change to the route of US 395 and perhaps US 2.

Phase 2 of the I-82 to SR 397 Intertie from Olympia Street to Finley Road opened to traffic on the south side of the Tri-Cities on November 15th. Pase 1, from I-82 to Olympia Street, had opened in the second half of 2004. I don't know if a completion date for Phase 3, Finley Road to existing SR 397, has been scheduled yet. This final phase will include a bridge over the BNSF Tri-Cities to Vancouver WA mainline. The entire Intertie might become an extension of SR 397 upon completion.

I visited Vancouver, BC over Veterans Day (Rememberance Day in Canada) Weekend. On the return trip, I crossed the border at Sumas and checked out the realignment project on SR 9 between Junctions SR 547 and 546. Stopped at Bellis Fair Mall in Bellingham where Kohl's has replaced Mervyn's. Kohl's has also opened some stores this Fall in new buildings in the Cental Puget Sound area.

Parts of Granville Street in Downtown Vancouver are torn up for construction of subway stations on the new Sky Train Canada Line that will link Downtown Vancouver with Vancouver International Airport. The Canada Line is scheduled to for completion in 2009 so that it will be in place for the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Carls Jr opened its first Puget Sound location in Tacoma a few weeks ago. The Southern California based chain has plans to open more Puget Sound locations within the next few years. Del Taco recently opened a store in Federal Way. National chains often expand into Washington State later than other states because Washington is off to one corner of the contiguous 48 states. Donde esta Pollo Loco?

Stay tuned. I'll try not to take so long between musings.

May 15, 2006

The 2006-2007 edition of the Washington Official State Highway Map was printed last Friday and Saturday in Tukwila WA at Cenveo. Chris Zodrow and I represented WSDOT at the press check. The map comes off the press at approximately 25,000 copies per hour. This year we are having 1,100,000 copies printed. This is 100,000 more than were printed of the 2004-2005 edition. The folding machine handles around 5,000 maps per hour. The theme of this year's map is the 50th anniversary of the Interstate System. WSDOT should be receiving a shipment from Cenveo within the next couple of weeks. Please contact me at work at maps@wsdot.wa.gov if you would like me to send you a copy of the new map.

May 7, 2006

The 2006 State Highway Log is now available internally to Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) employees. The PDF version for the public should be available soon on the WSDOT Transportation Data Office website. The log, updated annually, reflects the state highway system as of December 31st of the previous year. I'll be changing the route lengths of those state highways that changed in 2005 on the individual route pages. See the highways noted in the April 22 section below.

WSDOT said on Friday that the opening of the new Tacoma Narrows Bridge will be delayed 3 months. The bridge had been scheduled to open in April 2007 but will now open in July 2007. See www.wsdot.wa.gov for details.

I had noted on April 22nd that Kohl's would be moving into some of the Mervyn's stores in 2007 when Mervyn's is planning to leave the Pacific Northwest. The (Tacoma) News Tribune mentioned late last week that Kohl's would be moving into the Mervyn's at South Hill Mall in Puyallup.

I wanted to clarify that the Sonic drive-in that is under construction in Spokane will not only be the first Sonic in Spokane but also the first Sonic in Washington State.

April 22, 2006

One of my New Year's Resolutions was to update my website at least once a month. Here it is already April and this is my first update this year.

First of all, I have some unfinished highway update information for 2005. There was one legislative change to the state highway system plus three changes made by the transportation commission. In Spokane State Route (SR) 290 from US 2/US 395 (the Division/Browne couplet) via E Trent Ave to the intersection of Trent and Hamilton has been dropped from the state highway system. SR 290 Spur from I-90 to the Hamilton/Trent intersection is now part of the the mainline or trunk route of SR 290. From the Hamilton/Trent intersection heading east on Trent to the Idaho state line, SR 290 is unchanged.

The three commission-made changes to the state highway system occured in Southwest Washington. A short section of SR 100 Spur southwest of Ilwaco connecting with a Coast Guard station was dropped from the state highway system. A fraction of a mile of SR 100 Spur connection with SR 100 Loop remains on the system.

SR 500 in the Orchards area of Clark County has been changed. Starting at the junction of SR 500 and SR 503 (NE Fourth Plain Blvd/NE 117th Ave) SR 500 along Fourth plain Blvd heading east to NE 162nd Ave has been dropped from the state highway system and turned over to Clark County and the City of Vancouver. From the Fourth Plain/117th intersection, SR 500 now heads north coincident with SR 503 to Padden Parkway, then east on Padden to Wards Road, then NE on Wards to NE 162nd Ave, then south on 162nd to Fourth Plain. At the intersection of 162nd and Fourth Plain, SR 500 rejoins its former route and continues easterly then southerly to Camas and Washougal.

SR 501 starts at I-5 and heads westerly then northerly to a dead end at the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. The highway resumes in the City of Ridgefield and heads east, ending at I-5. The last mile or so of SR 501 approaching the wildlife refuge runs along side the Columbia River and had been washed out in places. The state decided to simply abandon the road rather than to repair it.

Construction is moving along on the new Tacoma Narrows Bridge. The south main cable is complete and the stringers or vertical cables are now being attached. The north cable should be completed in a few weeks. I think that the prefabricated deck sections will be lifted into place staring this summer.

In gas station news, Chevron has started replacing its existing signs with the new Chevron logo introduced on the company website in May 2005. There is a new Chevron on the northwest corner of Broadway (old US 99) and Everett Ave (SR 529) in Everett that features the new look Chevron logo and canopy. The lot on which this station sits had been vacant for around 20 years. It had previously been the site of a Standard Station. The Conoco Phillips 76 stations across the state are being repainted with the Conoco color scheme with Conoco's scarlet red replacing Union 76's orange. Texaco with Techron stations started appearing in Washington State in 2005 after Shell's exclusive license to the Texaco brand name had expired. Shell's non exclusive license runs out in Summer 2006. Most of the Shell owned texaco stations have been rebranded as Shell but a few are still branded as Texaco.

In department store news, the Federated-May Company meger was approved in 2005 and the regional May Company brands such as Meier & Frank here in the Pacific Northwest will be replaced by the Macy's brand. Earlier this month Kohl's opened its first stores in the Pacific Northwest in the Portland area including one in Vancouver. Mervyn's has announced that it will be closing its Washington-Oregon stores in early 2007. The Vancouver Mervyn's, opened in 1981, had been the first in the state. The Bellingham Mervyn's closed earlier this year. Evidently some of the Mervyn's will become Kohl's. This would be a change for Kohl's since most of Kohl's stores are not located in malls.

The first Sonic drive-in is under construction in Spokane on the northwest corner on N Ruby St (US2/US395) and E Sharp Ave near Gonzaga University.

I'll close by saying that a photo of Governor Chris Gregoire will appear on the 2006-2007 Washington Official State Highway Map. For more than three decades the governor's photo has not appeared on the map. In fact, the last governor shown on the map was Governor Dan Evans in 1969. The 2004-2005 map was so popular that supples have been exhausted. The Department of Transportation is planning on printing an extra 10 percent (100,000 copies) of the 2006-2007 map.

Thank you for visiting my site and please check back from time to time.

Mark Bozanich
Highways of Washington State
mapper@eskimo.com

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