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US Route 101 in Washington

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Amaury:
Why is US Route 101 signed so wacky in Washington? Between Astoria, Oregon, and approximately Sappho, Washington, it is correctly signed as south-north, where if you're heading toward Sappho, Washington, you are northbound on US Route 101. However, between approximately Sappho, Washington, and approximately Gardiner, Washington, it is signed west-east, and between approximately Gardiner, Washington, and its northern terminus in Olympia, Washington, it is signed as south-north, but reversed (180), where if you're heading toward Olympia, Washington, you are considered to be on US Route 101 southbound.

I get that if you're heading from Olympia, Washington, to, say, Shelton, Washington, you are technically heading north, but it should still be southbound US Route 101, and vice-versa. The northern terminus of US Route 101 for Washington's portion and as a whole is in Olympia, Washington, and the southern "terminus" of US Route 101 for Washington's portion is at the Washington-Oregon border. It's just because it's routed a little odd in Washington that it doesn't seem like it, but, ultimately, from Astoria, Oregon, to Olympia, Washington, you are heading north and vice-versa, since they are respectively north and south of each other. This seems to be the only route that does this, at least of the ones I've been on in the states I've driven in (Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Utah, California). Granted, I haven't driven all of the routes in these states, but still. And this isn't unofficial, either, it's official, as WSDOT has both overhead and roadside signs saying this. If I ever get the chance, I might ask WSDOT directly, like I did about Interstate 82.

There are sections of Washington State Route 20, a west-east route, across the state that run south-north, most prominently in Pend Oreille County, but are still properly signed as west-east. There's even a section in Pend Oreille County, where if you're on eastbound Washington State Route 20, you are heading west, but it is still properly signed as east, and vice-versa, if you're on westbound Washington State Route 20 on the same section, you are heading east, but it is still properly signed as west.

Bruce:
The eastern leg of the Olympic Loop is too long to be signed so far off from the cardinal directions, so presumably the state thought it would be too confusing to not change up the way they sign US 101. Otherwise, any number of drivers trying to reach Port Angeles from the Hood Canal Bridge or its predecessor ferry would want to go "North" but end up heading towards Olympia.

Henry:
I've always wondered this myself. However, I get why WSDOT would not want to confuse drivers by signing the southbound side of the highway (going to Olympia) as US 101 North. Perhaps taking a cue from VDOT would be a start, as it signs the part of I-64 that goes the wrong way with Inner/Outer banners. Initially, it was probably signed with East/West banners, even though the routing was contradictory to the practice, so Inner/Outer were added to the highway as well. I don't see the same happening for US 101, but that wouldn't be a bad thing to consider. And signing the northern part of the loop as East/West makes the most sense anyway.

Alps:

--- Quote from: Henry on September 27, 2022, 01:25:33 PM ---I've always wondered this myself. However, I get why WSDOT would not want to confuse drivers by signing the southbound side of the highway (going to Olympia) as US 101 North. Perhaps taking a cue from VDOT would be a start, as it signs the part of I-64 that goes the wrong way with Inner/Outer banners. Initially, it was probably signed with East/West banners, even though the routing was contradictory to the practice, so Inner/Outer were added to the highway as well. I don't see the same happening for US 101, but that wouldn't be a bad thing to consider. And signing the northern part of the loop as East/West makes the most sense anyway.

--- End quote ---
I would have wanted to see the loop stay east/west on the way back down the east side of the peninsula rather than have two 101 north/souths. NJ fixed NJ 36, WA can fix US 101 the same way.

Amaury:
Another, albeit hypothetical, solution could be to cut down the northern terminus of US Route 101 from Olympia to Sappho, Washington. The portion of US Route 101 signed as west and east could be changed over to an alternate alignment of Washington State Route 112, as Washington State Route 112 Alternate, similar to US Route 97 Alternate in Washington and Washington State Route 141 Alternate, the alternate alignment of Washington State Route 141 that bypasses White Salmon. For the portion of US Route 101 signed south and north, but in reverse, to Olympia, we could either have an alternate alignment of Washington State Route 3, as Washington State Route 3 Alternate, or extend the western terminus of Washington State Route 20 to Olympia. It'd be a little bit of an odd alignment, but still nowhere near as odd as current US Route 101, and it'd still have more than enough west and east miles to be a west-east route.

If we had the western terminus of Washington State Route 20 extended, as mentioned above, I would say the US Route 101 portion currently signed west and east could also be a spur route, but Washington State Route 20 already has a spur route in Anacortes, and I don't know if there can be more than one. The US Route 101 portion signed south and north in reverse to Olympia could also be Washington State Route 111, which, according to Wikipedia, was a past temporary state route, so the route number is not in use.

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