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"Split" WA-501 in Clark County


Every time I travel between Portland and Seattle, I ponder the current state of WA-501.  Originally it was designated to be a contiguous route from Vancouver to Ridgefield along the bank of the Columbia, with both ends terminating at I-5.  Since it's pretty much certain that these two route segments will never be connected, I have wondered why the North segment in Ridgefield isn't given a different number.  It seems there has never been a WA-511, why not designate this segment as WA-511?  Or extend WA-502 using a duplex route on I-5?  It would only be duplex-ed between Exit 11 and Exit 14. 

Either of your suggestions would be good.  However, I just searched this very question, and found this WSDOT document download link from 2018:

While it mostly discusses the southern portion, at the bottom of the first page, they make the slightly ambiguous statement: "WSDOT may re-evaluate state interest in the northwestern portion of this corridor in the future."

I'm pretty sure this is a reference to the I-5 to Ridgefield section, because they refer to it as the "northwestern end" of 501 earlier in the document. So this suggests their inclination might be to just drop the northern part from the state system.

The main reason why it hasn't been renumbered is due to the fact that state routes are defined in Washington state law. Since it would take an act of the legislature to change the numbering, there would need to be a more compelling reason to change it beyond just "there's an unconstructed gap so the two built segments are disconnected."

I would agree with xonhulu that it would be more likely for WSDOT to simply drop the northern segment since it isn't really needed as a state route.

509 has a split that has gotten bigger and is going to get bigger still, but there seems to be no effort to rename either segment as they are being developed into full freeways.


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