AARoads Forum

Regional Boards => Northwest => Topic started by: AMLNet49 on February 20, 2020, 06:26:10 PM

Title: City council decisions regarding Interstate Business Routes?
Post by: AMLNet49 on February 20, 2020, 06:26:10 PM
For those unfamiliar with the route, a little background about the I-5 Business Loop I will be discussing here: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_routes_of_Interstate_5#Chehalis–Centralia

Centralia and Chehalis have seemingly had a repeatedly on-and-off relationship with the WSDoT regarding the Interstate 5 Business Loop that used to run through both cities.

From what I can tell, both cities had part of the business loop in the 1960s, with each city having a partial loop connected to each other and to I-5 by a “leg”, the Chamber of Commerce Way (ex-National Ave Spur), which was designated as part of Business 5 as well.

The business loop was removed in the 1970s, I have no evidence of why but I would guess the reasoning was due to the limitation on signing business routes for exits that already have service signs – all 3 exits where Business 5 met I-5 (exits 76, 79 and 82) have service signs currently and likely did back then as well.

But here’s the main point:
In February 1989, the Chehalis City Council voted to restore its portion of Business 5 (the southern partial loop plus the “leg”) and unanimously passed a resolution asking the DoT to restore the designation, and also asking Centralia to take up a similar measure regarding the northern half. I can’t find any evidence that this was ever taken up by the Centralia City Council, nor that the Business 5 designations was ever restored in Centralia.

However the Chehalis measure passed and the DoT accepted the proposal to restore Business 5 in the city. So from 1989 the early 2000s, Business 5 signage was restored on the southern loop, between exits 76 and 79. However it appears that the designation was not brought back to the BGS’s for exits 76 or 79, due to the aforementioned restriction against signing business loops for exits that also include service signs. That being said, the Chehalis portion of the route was clearly restored in 1989.

By the early 2000s, some of the signs had been either knocked down or removed and hadn’t been replaced, making signage of the route sporadic. It was clear by the 2010s that the route must have come off the books at some point.

Despite this seeming obvious, when a curious local reporter asked the state in 2011 why the Business 5 signs were not being replaced when knocked down, the state told him that no business route had ever been designated in Centralia or Chehalis – despite the fact that one had clearly existed on two different occasions – the second of which was prompted by a local petition to the state itself!

This was the reason the reporter was told that Business 5 couldn’t be restored a third time, simply that it had never existed the first two times, which obviously makes no sense since it clearly did – the final “Business 5” shield wasn’t taken down until 2018! So when the reporter was being told by the state in 2011 that the route never existed, signs for the route literally existed at that time right down the road.

Last year in 2019, the Army Corps of Engineers also recommended restoring Business 5 in Centralia-Chehalis and making sure that the route is retrofitted for flood prevention, to allow a Business 5 to act as an alternate route in case of flooding on I-5 which is uncommon but happens about once per decade.

• Obviously the Army Corps proposal is non binding and is just a recommendation, but isn’t the 1989 Chehalis City resolution still valid?

• Considering there is legislation on the books asking the state to designate Business 5 in the city, how can the state not only remove signage after only 15 or 20 years but then deny that the route, which has been signed on two occasions, never even existed?