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Author Topic: Roads that Could Have Been in the Northwest  (Read 15968 times)

thefraze_1020

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Roads that Could Have Been in the Northwest
« on: June 28, 2018, 02:51:51 PM »

I believe we have had a topic like this in the main board before, but what are some examples in the Pacific Northwest of abandoned stubs or right-of-way that at one point were to carry roads never built? This does not include roads currently under construction (such as the North Spokane Corridor).

The first example I have is SR 9 in Snohomish, WA. Between the Bickford Ave overpass and Marsh Road, there is extra right-of-way on the west side of the road, indicating that this portion of the highway was originally intended to be divided. Also, look at the layout of the interchange with 2nd Street. It definitely looks like it was modified after a second carriageway was cancelled.
https://www.google.com/maps/@47.9165701,-122.1125941,1015m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en

What else do you know of?
« Last Edit: June 29, 2018, 01:18:29 AM by Bickendan »
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Re: Roads that Could Have Been in the Northwest
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2018, 10:06:03 PM »

Ghost ramps on WA 520: https://goo.gl/maps/KyU55AbmdMD2 -- was to be the the north end of the R. H. Thomson Expressway

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Re: Roads that Could Have Been in the Northwest
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2018, 11:33:32 PM »

Wikipedia has a list of stub ramps and the like: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_unused_highways_in_Washington

(Note that some of those links are outdated, but you can use tools like Google Earth or Historic Aerials to look at older imagery)

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Re: Roads that Could Have Been in the Northwest
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2018, 10:27:05 AM »

My favorite is SR 7 in Tacoma.
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Re: Roads that Could Have Been in the Northwest
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2018, 03:54:29 PM »

Maybe this subject could also be in Fictional Highways, if anyone had any fantasy ideas for roads that would go from the Northwest to anywhere!
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Re: Roads that Could Have Been in the Northwest
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2018, 03:55:27 PM »

Maybe this subject could also be in Fictional Highways, if anyone had any fantasy ideas for roads that would go from the Northwest to anywhere!

"This road could have been in the Northwest, but it's in the Southeast instead."
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Bruce

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Re: Roads that Could Have Been in the Northwest
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2018, 08:16:15 PM »

Maybe this subject could also be in Fictional Highways, if anyone had any fantasy ideas for roads that would go from the Northwest to anywhere!

I think this topic should be restricted to actual plans of years past rather than fantasy roads. We need to keep the two separate.

Of course, there were no shortage of freeway plans for Northwest cities.

Seattle (1967):



Portland (1965):



Vancouver (1970):





thefraze_1020

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Re: Roads that Could Have Been in the Northwest
« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2018, 11:44:56 AM »

I agree, it should be only actually construction or proposals.

Another example, US 195 in Rosalia. The interchange at the south end of town is lopsided and the overpass has room for a second carriageway.

https://www.google.com/maps/@47.210973,-117.3635275,1029m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en
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Re: Roads that Could Have Been in the Northwest
« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2018, 01:35:23 AM »

Two come to mind:

The original plan for a diamond interchange at SR 509 and Des Moines Memorial Drive (near SeaTac) is evident in a partially-built on-ramp going southbound: https://goo.gl/jH7K87

The 509 (in Tacoma) has a very wide ROW from Portland Ave to near Taylor Way, for what was originally to be a series of overpasses to connect to the 167 extension: https://goo.gl/TjRwhp -- The ground was even graded to support the overpass, and the Portland Ave interchange (built in 2001) was clearly built to support the C/D lanes between it and Alexander Ave (the roads even being named "Frontage Road"). Unfortunately, even long-range plans for the 167 extension no longer show any evidence that any overpasses are going to be built here. Which sucks, because the current signal is not well designed. No right turn lanes (fun stopping to turn right from 60), and the left turns from Alexander Ave are tiny. Drivers regularly create their own second left turn lane.
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thefraze_1020

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Re: Roads that Could Have Been in the Northwest
« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2018, 01:12:50 PM »

I've always wondered why 509 was designed so oddly.
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Re: Roads that Could Have Been in the Northwest
« Reply #10 on: July 07, 2018, 03:13:43 PM »

WSDOT does have plans to extend 509 at Sea-Tac to I-5 near the old Dump.  However, those have been in the works now for almost 20 years, but they are always planning...


Of course that means 509 will either be discontinuous, again, or the section west of the airport could get a new designation... I was thinking something like SR-99.
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Re: Roads that Could Have Been in the Northwest
« Reply #11 on: July 07, 2018, 08:44:21 PM »

I've always wondered why 509 was designed so oddly.

I believe the plans for the overpass existed as recently as 2006, but I can't find anything since then that supports any recent developments.

See page 8 (of 9) of this PDF, created in 2006. It shows a colorized visualization of an Alexander Ave overpass.

That PDF also refers to the freeway extension at the Port of Tacoma as 167, not 509 Spur. Many other things have changed since this document was created.

There are a bunch of really informative PDFs over here on WSDOT's website, many showing old alternatives.

Another PDF (this one) (see page 10 of 42) indicates that the I-5/Port of Tacoma Road interchange was built to accommodate the original 167 route, which would have ended at that interchange. I guess that explains all that unused ROW. Clearly a 3/4s cloverleaf was planned there.

EDIT: See this PDF (page 17 of 22) for information regarding the Alexander Ave interchange.

Quote from: SR167 Tier II FEIS Chapter2 Alternatives/Options Including the Preferred Alternative
The proposed SR 167 begins as a four-lane limited access highway where it connects to the existing SR 509 at the Port of Tacoma Road/SR 509 Interchange (Figure 2-2). The location of the connection and design features are dictated by the location of SR 509 and the SR 167 alignment as approved in the Tier I EIS. The two-lane southbound SR 167 will directly connect to the southbound lane of SR 509. The two-lane northbound SR 509 will directly connect to the two-lane northbound SR 167. There will be single-lane ramps from southbound SR 167 to SR 509 North Frontage Road and from SR 509 South Frontage Road to northbound SR 167.

As part of the SR 509 connection, one new bridge over Alexander Avenue will be built. This bridge would span Wapato Creek and the South Frontage Road. The existing railroad crossing of SR 509 will be relocated. A new railroad bridge over Wapato Creek will be constructed south of the South Frontage Road. A new structure (potentially a bridge or three-sided culvert) may replace the existing 110-foot long by 8-foot diameter open bottom arched culvert over Wapato Creek on North Frontage Road. The need for a new bridge on North Frontage Road has not been determined. This structure will only be constructed if needed to support the new railroad crossing. At this time it is not anticipated that this structure will be replaced because it is not impacted.

WSDOT does have plans to extend 509 at Sea-Tac to I-5 near the old Dump.  However, those have been in the works now for almost 20 years, but they are always planning...

Only in the last two years have those plans gone from just that, to solid action. The 509 has funding and construction should start soon. The 24th/26th Ave S extension in Des Moines (which opened very recently) included an overpass around the 20400 block, so the freeway could pass under.

Of course that means 509 will either be discontinuous, again, or the section west of the airport could get a new designation... I was thinking something like SR-99.

This is the one thing I don't have an answer for. The extension to 167 in Tacoma will be 509 Spur, so they clearly intend to keep the 509 at least north along the waterfront. I doubt they would use another Spur at SeaTac (which wouldn't make any sense since it's one continuous freeway from 1st Ave S to I-5). So 509 will more than likely become discontinuous. I'm just not sure which portions of state highway will be dumped. Maybe 509 will route along I-5 until the 516 interchange, and follow 516 over to Pac Highway, and continue from there?
« Last Edit: July 07, 2018, 08:59:33 PM by jakeroot »
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TEG24601

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Re: Roads that Could Have Been in the Northwest
« Reply #12 on: July 08, 2018, 11:02:15 AM »

Given that the SR 99 designation has already been removed from International Blvd. in Seatac, it would make sense for WSDOT to reroute 99 onto what is now 509 West of the Airport, along the extension to I-5, and then break it away at 516 to connect to the existing routing.  Then extending 599 along West Marginal Way to the 1st Ave. S bridge would the the other logical change.


509 then would only exist from Tacoma to Federal Way, being truncated on both ends due to extensions of its existing freeway/expressway segments.


Of course, that might be a more appropriate discussion in Fictional Highways.


----


Back on topic, for roads that could have been, there is always the Bayshore Freeway, which was to connect I-5 with SR 99 where Mercer St. currently is in Seattle, with "octopus" ramps to spread traffic to several locations beyond 99.  That is why for the longest time there was the horrible couplet of Mercer and Valley Sts, and why even with what they have done to Mercer, it can't seem to handle the traffic.  I'm really convinced that if they aren't going to ever go full freeway there, they need to completely rethink the traffic patterns in that area, as it can't handle traffic at noon, let alone rush hour.
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Re: Roads that Could Have Been in the Northwest
« Reply #13 on: July 08, 2018, 03:18:21 PM »

That plan for designations near Seatac actually sounds pretty good, but I doubt WSDOT would do anything that drastic. It would be nice to see Highway 99 continuous once again.



Mercer still doesn't work very well because of how wide it is. The width requires quite lengthy pedestrian crossing phases, which are of course very important in that area. Plus, you have the trolley crossings.
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Re: Roads that Could Have Been in the Northwest
« Reply #14 on: July 08, 2018, 08:07:43 PM »

Back on topic, for roads that could have been, there is always the Bayshore Freeway, which was to connect I-5 with SR 99 where Mercer St. currently is in Seattle, with "octopus" ramps to spread traffic to several locations beyond 99.  That is why for the longest time there was the horrible couplet of Mercer and Valley Sts, and why even with what they have done to Mercer, it can't seem to handle the traffic.  I'm really convinced that if they aren't going to ever go full freeway there, they need to completely rethink the traffic patterns in that area, as it can't handle traffic at noon, let alone rush hour.

It was just the Bay Freeway, no shore involved. Would have cut across Belltown on Broad Street to meet the Northwest Freeway, which would extend from the viaduct to Ballard and points beyond. Really dodged some bullets with these two.


Bay Freeway Possible Design, 1970 by SounderBruce, on Flickr

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Re: Roads that Could Have Been in the Northwest
« Reply #15 on: July 09, 2018, 02:11:38 AM »

Back on topic, for roads that could have been, there is always the Bayshore Freeway, which was to connect I-5 with SR 99 where Mercer St. currently is in Seattle, with "octopus" ramps to spread traffic to several locations beyond 99.  That is why for the longest time there was the horrible couplet of Mercer and Valley Sts, and why even with what they have done to Mercer, it can't seem to handle the traffic.  I'm really convinced that if they aren't going to ever go full freeway there, they need to completely rethink the traffic patterns in that area, as it can't handle traffic at noon, let alone rush hour.

It was just the Bay Freeway, no shore involved. Would have cut across Belltown on Broad Street to meet the Northwest Freeway, which would extend from the viaduct to Ballard and points beyond. Really dodged some bullets with these two.

https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5612/15441816298_f51864a2b8_b.jpg

I agree, although it would be cool today to see what kind of lidding plans the local community would have come up with. I can see that a tunnel was planned between Denny and 5th, but that definitely wouldn't be enough to cover up the scar of a whole freeway. It does look like the section through SLU was elevated; I get sick just thinking about what that would look like today.

Something does catch my eye, though. What's up with that solid-colored extension of Fairview Ave near the I-5 interchange?

Oh, and can we all imagine just how shitty the Mercer Weave and 520 Shuffle would be if Mercer were a freeway? ˇAy, caramba! I assume that, shortly after construction was finished, they'd have fixed that massive design error with some collector lanes or flyovers.
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Re: Roads that Could Have Been in the Northwest
« Reply #16 on: July 09, 2018, 05:27:57 AM »

Is there a map of the I-605 outer belt for Seattle?
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Re: Roads that Could Have Been in the Northwest
« Reply #17 on: July 09, 2018, 02:08:27 PM »

Is there a map of the I-605 outer belt for Seattle?

Good question. I've never seen one; the route was never really decided except that it would follow WA-18 from I-5 to I-90, and then keep going from there to an indeterminate point (maybe US-2).

If there's a map, Bruce would probably have it. He's got loads of old maps (it seems).
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Re: Roads that Could Have Been in the Northwest
« Reply #18 on: July 09, 2018, 08:29:58 PM »

A lot of the I-605 proposals didn't specify a specific route, just an undefined corridor either west or east of Lake Sammamish. Here's a few descriptions and maps I dug up with a quick search:

1967 plan

From the 1967 Regional Transportation Plan by what is now the PSRC. Would have ran from SR 167 near Kent to SR 520 near Overlake via Eastgate on the west side of Lake Sammamish.

The Seattle Times mapped out part of the route in December 1968:



1998-03 proposal

The full Commerce Corridor study is available if you dig through WSDOT's archived webpages. The main proposal under consideration, which would best fit the I-605 moniker, would have run from Federal Way to Snoqualmie on SR 18, then up the Snoqualmie Valley near SR 203 to Monroe, and along US 2 to Everett.

Based on this and the existing topography, I sketched out a possible route (69.4 miles):



A few more outlandish alignments were also considered, with a maximum cost of $41-50 billion for the border-to-border alignment:



Interestingly, the corridor was envisioned as also carrying power lines, gas/oil pipe lines, and trains (as useless as that sounds).

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Re: Roads that Could Have Been in the Northwest
« Reply #19 on: July 10, 2018, 10:26:34 AM »

That 1998-2003 proposal of I-605 is the one I'm most familiar with! The mountainous terrain may have been a factor in it getting cancelled, because it seems to be nonpractical and super expensive. Then again, any route through such terrain has always been, right?
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Re: Roads that Could Have Been in the Northwest
« Reply #20 on: July 10, 2018, 01:58:11 PM »

That 1998-2003 proposal of I-605 is the one I'm most familiar with! The mountainous terrain may have been a factor in it getting cancelled, because it seems to be nonpractical and super expensive. Then again, any route through such terrain has always been, right?

I guess the cost/benefit analysis didn't pan out. They could find a way to tunnel when necessary, but obviously that adds to the cost.

I do find it interesting that, in this article that was linked on the wiki page for I-605 (WA), the speed limit for the freeway would have been 80 mph. As far as I know, this would have required a modification to the law at the time, which only permitted limits up to 70 (unlike the current law which permits 75).

While I don't find it likely for another N-S freeway to be built perhaps ever, I wouldn't consider it unreasonable to think that 18 could one day extend to US-2 or 522, once a lot of the major projects are finished (HOV lanes from Olympia or JBLM to Fife, SR 99 tunnel, 405 widening from Bellevue to Tukwila, etc). According to that ST article, WSDOT had too much on their plate at the time with the viaduct and 520 needing rebuilding. Both of those things are done or very nearly done.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2018, 02:02:17 PM by jakeroot »
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Re: Roads that Could Have Been in the Northwest
« Reply #21 on: July 10, 2018, 04:46:57 PM »

The Snoqualmie Valley will probably never be touched. Maybe some expansion on SR 203, but nothing near the scale of a full freeway. The soils are really poor, it's still productive farmland (and thus protected by various federal/state rules), and the political opposition will always be very high.

It would be far more practical to convert SR 203 and SR 9 into an expressway (the latter is already a four-lane, divided expressway in some areas), then build a connection around the southwest side of Monroe.

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Re: Roads that Could Have Been in the Northwest
« Reply #22 on: July 10, 2018, 05:18:28 PM »

The Snoqualmie Valley will probably never be touched. Maybe some expansion on SR 203, but nothing near the scale of a full freeway. The soils are really poor, it's still productive farmland (and thus protected by various federal/state rules), and the political opposition will always be very high.

It would be far more practical to convert SR 203 and SR 9 into an expressway (the latter is already a four-lane, divided expressway in some areas), then build a connection around the southwest side of Monroe.

I also forgot about the 167 and 509 extensions which will be draining the state's coffers for the next ten years. Plus the N-S Spokane freeway. Funding for any 18 extension would be way off.

I don't know if the political opposition would be that high. It would move through some farmland, but that's not unlike the 167 extension, which is plowing (no pun intended) through quite a lot of farmland. And the 509 extension is going right through a major park. The state seems to be able to design roads that aren't too environmentally destructive (to the degree a road can avoid being). This would probably mean widening existing state highways though, as you mention. Bypassing Carnation and Duvall would be a start, though that would require some farmland acquisition.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2018, 05:23:06 PM by jakeroot »
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Re: Roads that Could Have Been in the Northwest
« Reply #23 on: July 10, 2018, 11:47:23 PM »

The idea of a freeway running through the Snoqualmie Valley is going to rile up a lot of people living in Sammamish and Redmond Ridge, which were deliberately setback from the existing freeways to avoid some of their effects.

If we have to scratch that freeway itch, then there's some low-hanging fruit in eastern WA: completing the freeway segment of US 395 between Pasco and Ritzville (really only a few grade separated overpases left); and upgrading US 195 from Spokane to Pullman (or perhaps building SR 230 and creating a better Ritzville-Pullman connection). US 12 is already being upgraded to a freeway near Walla Walla, so that about covers the major US routes.

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Re: Roads that Could Have Been in the Northwest
« Reply #24 on: July 11, 2018, 04:21:46 AM »

Speaking of the Ritzville-Pasco US 395 freeway -- south of there, after US 395 segues onto I-82 south of Kennewick -- there were plans originally fomented in the early '90's to extend I-82 southwest along OR 207 to US 26 (although some variations specified a more northerly alignment using an OR 206/19/218/293 routing through Condon and Antelope; the goal was to connect the northern section of US 395 (via I-82) and US 97 (somewhere between OR 293 and Redmond) and then take the freeway straight down US 97 into California.  Obviously whoever planned this alignment was looking at a map rather than what's on the ground; the area between I-84 and the Deschutes Valley is comprised of piles and piles of basalt rock formations with creeks and rivers cutting through them in narrow gorges -- not a particularly hospitable place to put an Interstate-grade freeway!  Eventually the plan was put on a back shelf at ODOT and essentially forgotten.

If in the distant future a freeway is planned for US 97, it'll probably just have to remain on or near that route all the way to I-84 and the Columbia River -- although north of Madras even that wouldn't be a picnic to construct -- that part of OR is not known for easy pathways anywhere!   
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