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Author Topic: Interstate 82 in Washington and Oregon  (Read 2820 times)

Amaury

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Interstate 82 in Washington and Oregon
« on: September 22, 2022, 05:05:13 AM »

I've always wondered why Interstate 82 is designated as west-east, as is evident by its even number, yet runs more south-north. Besides the numbering, my understanding of routes is that however more miles one direction has than the other is the determining factor. So, if a highway runs west-east for 10 miles and south-north for 3 miles, it is a west-east route, since there are more west-east miles than south-north miles. Like I-90 has sections that run south-north, but it mostly runs west-east. There are even sections of Washington State Route 20 East where you're heading west for a bit and vice-versa! This seems to mostly be in Pend Oreille County. (There are some highways that don't make sense at all, like Montana Highway 206, which clearly runs south-north and is designated as such, yet has an even number, but that's for another discussion.) Anyway, from reading both Wikipedia and a response from WSDOT to a post asking a long time ago, I learned that Interstate 82 used to only be in the Tri-Cities area, where it is west-east. It was gradually extended to the junction with Interstate 90 here in Ellensburg and to the junction with Interstate 84 in Oregon. They just never changed the numbering to something like Interstate 83 to reflect that it ended up becoming more of a south-north route, though from what WSDOT told me, they have done things like that in the past, and it is pretty expensive to replace or put up new signs.

One of the ways, and maybe the cheapest, that I could see this being "fixed" would be to re-shorten I-82 to just be between Exit 37, where US 97 currently separates from the concurrency with it and US 12, and Exit 113, where US 395 currently joins I-82. So from the junction with I-90 until Exit 37, it would just be US 97 by itself and between Exit 113 and the junction with I-84, it would just be US 395 by itself. But the more logical fix would be to just renumber it to an odd number and replace signs.

Anyone else have thoughts on this?
« Last Edit: September 22, 2022, 11:15:20 AM by Amaury »
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Re: Interstate 82 in Washington and Oregon
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2022, 06:22:22 AM »

I learned that Interstate 82 used to only be in the Tri-Cities area, where it is west-east. It was gradually extended to the junction with Interstate 90 here in Ellensburg and to the junction with Interstate 84 in Oregon.

I-82 was always planned as a connector between I-90 in Ellensburg and I-80N (now I-84) somewhere near Pendleton. This held true through the routing debate that took it closer to the Tri-Cities and resulted in the creation of I-182 as well.

As I-82 fits into the network as part of a longer connection between Seattle and Boise/SLC, an even number is entirely appropriate. Truncating it would not make much sense, especially if it is isolated from the rest of the Interstate network on paper.
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Re: Interstate 82 in Washington and Oregon
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2022, 06:38:35 AM »

The numbering made more sense when I-84 was originally numbered as I-80N. I do think it fits somewhat better as a south-north route, but if anything, it's really more diagonal in nature given its southern terminus compared to western terminus. Always been a bit of an odd interstate in that way. I've seen some threads in the past here saying it should be renumbered to I-7 or I-9. I suppose these have some merit but I think I-82 works fine as it is.

Quote
They just never changed the numbering to something like Interstate 83 to reflect that it ended up becoming more of a south-north route
It would never be renumbered to I-83. I-83 is already in use and even if it wasn't, it would be near the East Coast. The only realistic numbers that would work at this point are 7 or 9. 11 is now taken and it has some future extension plans, but those would almost certainly stay within Nevada.

Keep in mind even from the very start, there were exceptions. There are just some routes, especially US highways, that run more diagonal and are hard to really assign a number, because it could be either even or odd.
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Amaury

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Re: Interstate 82 in Washington and Oregon
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2022, 05:24:43 AM »

As I-82 fits into the network as part of a longer connection between Seattle and Boise/SLC, an even number is entirely appropriate. Truncating it would not make much sense, especially if it is isolated from the rest of the Interstate network on paper.

I mean, the road itself wouldn't be truncated, just the I-82 designation between Ellensburg and Exit 37 and between Exit 113 and the Interstate 84 junction. But that is also why I mentioned that the more logical "fix," if one were to occur, would be to change it to an odd number.

Although I did pick some random points on Google Maps that I thought made sense, and I get 69.8 point miles of south-north and 73.3 miles of west-east, which means it would be a west-east route, but I don't know what the official points are. But these aren't official points, and there doesn't seem to be a website that says how many miles a highway travels in a certain direction. For example, there's no official website that says out of the 143.58 miles—which my numbers above don't equal to due to the differing points—that Interstate 82 runs, according to Wikipedia, X miles are south-north and Y miles are west-east.







The bigger issue with me comes from the fact that Ellensburg is north of Yakima, or vice-versa, Yakima is south of Ellensburg. And we do drive in those directions, yet you're driving on a west-east freeway. Similarly, two of the elevations between Ellensburg and Yakima are called North Umtanum Ridge and South Umtanum Ridge.

Another way to "fix" this could be renaming Interstate 82 to Interstate 190, an auxiliary route of Interstate 90—like what Interstate 182 is right now to Interstate 82—and renaming Interstate 182 to Interstate 82, but that would most definitely not work, as I think, similar to spur routes, auxiliary routes must be short. If they're long, they're not auxiliary (or spur) routes.
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Re: Interstate 82 in Washington and Oregon
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2022, 09:22:55 AM »

The Pasco to Ritzville US 395 freeway could be made part of the interstate system.  Then I-82 could terminate south of I-182, just west of Kennewick and where US 395 cuts to the Tri-Cities; that new interstate could continue to I-84 and I-82 terminate there. Or maybe you want I-84N and S, with I-82 becoming I-84N, following Texas that is determined to reintroduce E, W and now C.

I think changng with the US 395 or US 12 routings or/and numbering in the area has more potential for modification.  The US 12 expressway to Walla Walla could be argued to get a I-182 concurrency once phase 8 work is done (10 years?). 

 
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Re: Interstate 82 in Washington and Oregon
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2022, 09:42:05 AM »

Years ago I saw a map online which showed I-82 was proposed to go to Seattle instead of ending at Ellensburg.  Sounds strange given I-90 is a transcontinental route number and it did wind up being the number which wound up going to Seattle.  Does anyone know the background on the I-82 to Seattle proposal?

Rick
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Re: Interstate 82 in Washington and Oregon
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2022, 04:27:05 PM »

Years ago I saw a map online which showed I-82 was proposed to go to Seattle instead of ending at Ellensburg.  Sounds strange given I-90 is a transcontinental route number and it did wind up being the number which wound up going to Seattle.  Does anyone know the background on the I-82 to Seattle proposal?

Rick

There are no documents in the Oregon or Washington AASHO files with this proposal.  I-82 was originally supposed to go to Portland OR

The Aug 1957 and June 1958 maps do not suggest this was a thing either.  Prelim map from June 1958 also does not show it.

However, the memo from AASHO to the states 6/2/58 explicitly says 82 is to be dual marked with 90 into Seattle.  I did not find another document to undo that description.  I have not located any map that shows it.

To see this memo, first access the AASHO database search page, then use this link - https://na4.visualvault.com/app/AASHTO/Default/documentviewer?DhID=c5877049-37e6-ea11-a98a-ff9beffbfef8&hidemenu=true
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Re: Interstate 82 in Washington and Oregon
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2022, 05:16:07 PM »

Years ago I saw a map online which showed I-82 was proposed to go to Seattle instead of ending at Ellensburg.  Sounds strange given I-90 is a transcontinental route number and it did wind up being the number which wound up going to Seattle.  Does anyone know the background on the I-82 to Seattle proposal?

Rick

In 1959, the Washington State Highway Commission petitioned the BPR to add the western half of US 410 (from Aberdeen to Yakima) to the Interstate system, likely as an extension of I-82. It was rejected, but would've fit some definition of serving the Seattle(-Tacoma) region.

Also found some interesting tidbits in the I-705 application packet from 1978, which includes correspondence about renumbering I-80N and I-82. One of the proposals:

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Re: Interstate 82 in Washington and Oregon
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2022, 06:48:45 PM »

Years ago I saw a map online which showed I-82 was proposed to go to Seattle instead of ending at Ellensburg.  Sounds strange given I-90 is a transcontinental route number and it did wind up being the number which wound up going to Seattle.  Does anyone know the background on the I-82 to Seattle proposal?

Rick

I wonder if that means Interstate 90's western terminus would have originally been in Ellensburg instead of Seattle and Interstate 82 would have continued past Exit 110. The physical roads themselves would have been the same, just the routing designations would have been different. Then Interstate 82 being a west-east route, based on the even number, would have made more sense.
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Re: Interstate 82 in Washington and Oregon
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2022, 09:13:26 PM »

I mean, the road itself wouldn't be truncated, just the I-82 designation between Ellensburg and Exit 37 and between Exit 113 and the Interstate 84 junction. But that is also why I mentioned that the more logical "fix," if one were to occur, would be to change it to an odd number.
Doing this would create an interstate that is completely isolated. As it would not directly connect to I-90 or I-84 anymore. Simply to create more of a west-east interstate. This completely defeats the purpose. I-82 is diagonal and thus doesn't perfectly fit as either an even or odd number. But it serves an important purpose of getting traffic from Boise to Seattle. It almost seems more like those diagonal US highways where the numbers didn't really fit at all (such as US-62) but still served as important regional corridors.
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Re: Interstate 82 in Washington and Oregon
« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2022, 09:19:29 PM »

Years ago I saw a map online which showed I-82 was proposed to go to Seattle instead of ending at Ellensburg.  Sounds strange given I-90 is a transcontinental route number and it did wind up being the number which wound up going to Seattle.  Does anyone know the background on the I-82 to Seattle proposal?

Rick

I wonder if that means Interstate 90's western terminus would have originally been in Ellensburg instead of Seattle and Interstate 82 would have continued past Exit 110. The physical roads themselves would have been the same, just the routing designations would have been different. Then Interstate 82 being a west-east route, based on the even number, would have made more sense.
Not likely. Given how interstates are numbered, seems far more likely there would have been an 82/90 concurrency between Seattle and Ellensburg. This was not uncommon in the US highway days, when routes would have extensions just to ensure they officially reached a destination. For example, US-26 used to travel concurrent on US-101 just to ensure it officially reached Astoria. It had no unique mileage, it just borrowed US-101 roadway. Same thing with US-199 once extending slightly farther on US-101 just to properly terminate in Crescent City. It's likely in the early days of the interstates, such extensions like this were considered, but then discarded. Because motorists would likely just associate one number with one route, and I-82 doesn't need to physically reach Seattle in order to get motorists there.

Interstates that end in x0 are intended to be major, cross-country roads. Having I-90 terminate in Ellensburg solely to ensure I-82 reached Seattle instead wouldn't have made any sense. Seattle is a major national city, Ellensburg is not. It's somewhat akin to when Interstate 15 used to terminate in San Bernardino. It made sense, but that southern extension to San Diego made a lot more sense, because San Diego is a much bigger destination than San Bernardino.
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Re: Interstate 82 in Washington and Oregon
« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2022, 09:21:05 PM »

Years ago I saw a map online which showed I-82 was proposed to go to Seattle instead of ending at Ellensburg.  Sounds strange given I-90 is a transcontinental route number and it did wind up being the number which wound up going to Seattle.  Does anyone know the background on the I-82 to Seattle proposal?

Rick

In 1959, the Washington State Highway Commission petitioned the BPR to add the western half of US 410 (from Aberdeen to Yakima) to the Interstate system, likely as an extension of I-82. It was rejected, but would've fit some definition of serving the Seattle(-Tacoma) region.

Also found some interesting tidbits in the I-705 application packet from 1978, which includes correspondence about renumbering I-80N and I-82. One of the proposals:


This is interesting! Never knew this was planned. This actually makes a lot more sense and kind of wish it happened. There are numerous split interstates these days (76, 84, 86, 87, 88) and these "implied concurrencies" don't seem to cause any issues or confusion. Since renumbering was going to happen anyway due to 80N going away, I think this should have happened instead.
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Re: Interstate 82 in Washington and Oregon
« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2022, 10:10:01 PM »

I like the idea that I-82 could go to SLC and I-86 could go to Portland, eliminating the fake I-84

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Re: Interstate 82 in Washington and Oregon
« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2022, 10:24:55 PM »

I-82 should be I-7/9/11/13 so that one of the I-84s can become 82.

The fact that I-82 connects two east-west corridors is not a sufficient condition for giving it an even number.
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Re: Interstate 82 in Washington and Oregon
« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2022, 11:49:47 PM »

I-82 should be I-7/9/11/13 so that one of the I-84s can become 82.

The fact that I-82 connects two east-west corridors is not a sufficient condition for giving it an even number.

I-82 is part of a longer NW-SE corridor that ultimately feeds into the rest of the system via E-W corridors.

Also, a renumbering this late in the game is a pointless waste of money, metal, and effort.
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Re: Interstate 82 in Washington and Oregon
« Reply #15 on: September 25, 2022, 03:38:59 AM »

Not likely. Given how interstates are numbered, seems far more likely there would have been an 82/90 concurrency between Seattle and Ellensburg. This was not uncommon in the US highway days, when routes would have extensions just to ensure they officially reached a destination. For example, US-26 used to travel concurrent on US-101 just to ensure it officially reached Astoria. It had no unique mileage, it just borrowed US-101 roadway. Same thing with US-199 once extending slightly farther on US-101 just to properly terminate in Crescent City. It's likely in the early days of the interstates, such extensions like this were considered, but then discarded. Because motorists would likely just associate one number with one route, and I-82 doesn't need to physically reach Seattle in order to get motorists there.

That would have also made a west-east route make much more sense, though it would have been a rather pointless concurrency since they would both end at the same place, because when there are concurrencies, they'll eventually branch off on either end (west/east or south/north). For example, instead of both ending at Seattle, Interstate 82 could have branched off where Interstate 90 terminates in the west to go a little farther to, say, somewhere in West Seattle.
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Re: Interstate 82 in Washington and Oregon
« Reply #16 on: September 25, 2022, 04:53:31 AM »

Well, since we're getting into fictional territory, it could have gone anywhere. But if the entire purpose of creating an 82/90 concurrency was just so 82 could have a few miles within Seattle, it's still kind of pointless. This is why a lot of US highway concurrencies were eliminated. You didn't need 4+ concurrent highways all going to the same location, just one primary one worked and you'd have natural starting points for the others as you progressed. Given the purpose of I-82, Ellensburg works well as a starting point. There's really just nothing that can be done about I-82. It's diagonal but serves an important purpose. It will always look a bit odd in the overall grid.
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Re: Interstate 82 in Washington and Oregon
« Reply #17 on: September 25, 2022, 05:23:09 AM »

There's really just nothing that can be done about I-82. It's diagonal but serves an important purpose. It will always look a bit odd in the overall grid.

Yeah. Although, interestingly enough, Washington State Route 821 runs virtually parallel to Interstate 82 between Ellensburg and the Selah Firing Center, and it's south-north.
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Re: Interstate 82 in Washington and Oregon
« Reply #18 on: September 25, 2022, 06:11:39 AM »

Well that would be to reflect how Washington numbers its state highways. And probably a tacit admission that I-82 is more south-north (at least in that part of the state). They likely have 82x routes reserved if/when they are ever needed.
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Re: Interstate 82 in Washington and Oregon
« Reply #19 on: September 25, 2022, 07:38:39 AM »

Well, since we're getting into fictional territory, it could have gone anywhere. But if the entire purpose of creating an 82/90 concurrency was just so 82 could have a few miles within Seattle, it's still kind of pointless. This is why a lot of US highway concurrencies were eliminated. You didn't need 4+ concurrent highways all going to the same location, just one primary one worked and you'd have natural starting points for the others as you progressed. Given the purpose of I-82, Ellensburg works well as a starting point. There's really just nothing that can be done about I-82. It's diagonal but serves an important purpose. It will always look a bit odd in the overall grid.

Right. Just like I-24 in the SE is another.  It runs diagonally as well and could be an odd number. However, it does serve its purpose and allows Seattle to be connected to the middle country.
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Re: Interstate 82 in Washington and Oregon
« Reply #20 on: September 25, 2022, 10:10:48 AM »

Besides the numbering, my understanding of routes is that however more miles one direction has than the other is the determining factor. So, if a highway runs west-east for 10 miles and south-north for 3 miles, it is a west-east route, since there are more west-east miles than south-north miles.

Although I did pick some random points on Google Maps that I thought made sense, and I get 69.8 point miles of south-north and 73.3 miles of west-east, which means it would be a west-east route, but I don't know what the official points are. But these aren't official points, and there doesn't seem to be a website that says how many miles a highway travels in a certain direction. For example, there's no official website that says out of the 143.58 miles—which my numbers above don't equal to due to the differing points—that Interstate 82 runs, according to Wikipedia, X miles are south-north and Y miles are west-east.

This is not an official thing, as far as I am aware. I don’t believe that there is any official listing of which miles of which interstate are officially considered to be north-south or east-west.

That said, I would agree that as a connector between two even numbered routes, I-82 would be better as an odd number.
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Re: Interstate 82 in Washington and Oregon
« Reply #21 on: September 25, 2022, 10:52:49 AM »

That said, I would agree that as a connector between two even numbered routes, I-82 would be better as an odd number.

The numbers of what it connects shouldn't matter. I-89 is correct as is, even though it only touches 93, 91, and would touch 87 if not for a lake in the way.
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Re: Interstate 82 in Washington and Oregon
« Reply #22 on: September 25, 2022, 11:04:27 AM »

That said, I would agree that as a connector between two even numbered routes, I-82 would be better as an odd number.

I remember reading on the I-82 Wikipedia page that there was a consideration in the early 2000s to extend it south from I-84 through Eastern Oregon to somewhere in California or Nevada. Had this extension been built, I wonder if it would’ve kept the I-82 number and been signed north-south like I-69 in Michigan and if it happened it could’ve connected to I-11 in Las Vegas.

Source https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interstate_82
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Re: Interstate 82 in Washington and Oregon
« Reply #23 on: September 25, 2022, 11:16:52 AM »

That said, I would agree that as a connector between two even numbered routes, I-82 would be better as an odd number.

The numbers of what it connects shouldn't matter. I-89 is correct as is, even though it only touches 93, 91, and would touch 87 if not for a lake in the way.

As a general rule, I wouldn't necessarily agree since I would hold that it's part of the general idea of a grid. That said, details of geography and so on can admittedly change things.
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Re: Interstate 82 in Washington and Oregon
« Reply #24 on: September 25, 2022, 12:11:19 PM »

I would be curious to know how many of the people who take issue with I-82's number have ever actually been on it. I can see how someone who's never been up there might look at it as a vertical line between 82 and 90 and wonder why it's not a N/S odd number. But as someone who's been up there and clinched it both ways, I see it as an east-west route - just one that connects Seattle to Boise and onwards instead of Spokane. 82 is solidly a diagonal route, but it serves that diagonal in more of an east-west capacity than a north-south one.

Also, if you look at the US routes it replaced:

37.81 miles is concurrent with US 97 (N/S)
20.81 miles is concurrent with US 395 (N/S)
71.13 miles is concurrent with US 12 (E/W)

I never see anybody complaining about the directionality of I-24 or I-71, even though you could make a solid argument that those are more misnumbered than 82 is - and to boot, both largely follow US routes that go the other direction (US 41 and 45 for I-24, US 42 for I-71). Guessing that's because more people on here have actually been on them.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2022, 12:22:39 PM by US 89 »
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