U.S. 97 North

U.S. 97 north
The two-lane highway crosses the Columbia River via the Biggs Rapids (Sam Hill Memorial) Bridge, which opened on November 1, 1962, as a toll bridge. Tolls were removed in 1975. This bridge is approximately 26 feet in width. The bridge is approximately 2,567 feet long, which is a little less than a half-mile in length. Vertical clearance is 75 feet above the mean river level. (Source: http://www.historylink.org/index.cfm?DisplayPage=output.cfm&file_id=7803). Photos taken 08/03/11.
The Oregon-Washington state line is located near the south edge of the superstructure of this steel truss bridge; the bridge is maintained in its entirety by the Washington Department of Transportation. Once under the superstructure of the Biggs Rapids (Sam Hill Memorial) Bridge, U.S. 97 enters the state of Washington. This is the highest point of the Biggs Rapids (Sam Hill Memorial) bridge; from here, the bridge will descend to the north bank of the Columbia River. Photos taken 08/03/11.
Upon reaching terra firma at the north end of the Biggs Rapids (Sam Hill Memorial) Bridge, U.S. 97 approaches the turnoff for Maryhill State Park.. Campsites and scenic views are among the attractions of this riverside park. Photo taken 08/03/11.
A turnoff allows for a brief respite before the climb out of the Columbia River valley. Photo taken 08/03/11.
This U.S. 97 north reassurance route marker shield is posted after the Maryhill State Park turnoff. The highway proceeds uphill for its pending junction with Washington 14 (former U.S. 197-830). Photo taken 08/03/11.
Even though the Columbia River is wide, the valley walls are sheer. Roads in and out of the valley require ascent via a steep grade. Photos taken 08/03/11.
A welcome to Washington state sign is posted on the uphill grade. Photo taken 08/03/11.
Nearing the top of the grade, northbound U.S. 97 approaches Washington 14. This major east-west state highway parallels the Columbia River, but unlike Interstate 84 and U.S. 30, Washington 14 stays entirely on the north bank of the river. Originating in Vancouver, Washington 14 proceeds east along Old U.S. 830, connecting with U.S. 197 and U.S. 97 before ending at Interstate 82 and U.S. 395 south of the Tri-Cities. Photo taken 08/03/11.
Northbound U.S. 97 meets Washington 14. Turn left for U.S. 97 north and Washington 14 west to Yakima and Vancouver. Turn right for Washington 14 east to the Tri-Cities and Interstate 82. For Old U.S. 197 south and Old U.S. 830 west, turn left here to the point where U.S. 97 diverts north toward Yakima. U.S. 197-830 proceeds west along Washington 14. Both U.S. routes were removed from Washington 14 in 1968 when U.S. 830 was decommissioned (since it was less than 300 miles long and was entirely located within one state, which violated AASHTO's U.S. route numbering policy #5: "U.S. routes, less than three hundred miles in length, heretofore established and located wholly in one State, shall be eliminated either by consolidation with other U.S. routes or by reverting to State routes" - see http://cms.transportation.org/sites/route/docs/HO1_Policy_Establ_Develop_USRN.pdf). Photo taken 08/03/11.
Leaving the community of Parker on U.S. 97 northbound at 2nd Avenue. The four-lane highway regains a jersey barrier median beyond the ramp from 2nd Avenue west. Ahtanum Ridge rises in the background. Photo taken 08/28/06.
U.S. 97 spans Wapato Irrigation Canal and then intersects the north end of Lateral A Road. Lateral A Road provides the most direct route between Yakima and the Yakama Indian Reservation communities of Harrah and White Swan. Photo taken 08/28/06.
Curving toward Union Gap on U.S. 97 north after Lateral A Road. An older configuration here saw a carriageway split, but now U.S. 97 travels the same foot print. Remnants of the old southbound lanes are visible to the west. Photo taken 08/28/06.
Union Gap represents the opening between Ahtanum Ridge and Rattlesnake Hills carved by the Yakima River. Interstate 82 & U.S. 12, the Washington Central Railroad, and U.S. 97 all utilize the cut between Yakima Valley and the city of Yakima. Photo taken 08/28/06.
U.S. 97 veers northeast from Union Gap to join Interstate 82 & U.S. 12 west into Yakima. A loop ramp drops from the elevated roadway onto the Exit 38 access road from I-82 west to Main Street through Union Gap. Photo taken 08/28/06.
Northbound motorists utilize a viaduct over Ahtanum Creek, the Washington Central Railroad, and the connector road from Interstate 82 to Main Street. Beyond the Main Street ramp, U.S. 97 merges onto Interstate 82 & U.S. 12 west through Yakima.
U.S. 97 and Interstate 82 share 37.81 miles of pavements through to Interstate 90 west near Ellensburg. Photo taken 08/28/06.
Main Street represents the original alignment of U.S. 97 north through Union Gap. The four-lane arterial becomes 1st Street through to the Yakima City Center. Photo taken 08/28/06.
U.S. 97 north - Ellensburg
U.S. 97 parts ways with Interstate 90 after a 4.81-mile overlap from the west end of Interstate 82 to Exit 106 at Ellensburg. The US route leaves a trumpet interchange with the freeway and heads briefly east before turning northwest into western reaches of Kittitas Valley. Photo taken 08/31/06.
Drivers along U.S. 97 nip the western fringes of Ellensburg between University Way and former U.S. 10 (Dry Creek Connector Road) near Woldale School. Ellensburg was incorporated November 26, 1883 and is home to 18,174 per the 2010 census. Photo taken 08/31/06.
U.S. 97 turns left at the intersection with Dolarway Road south and University Way east. University Way east to Cascade Way (former U.S. 10) represents the alignment of decommissioned Business Loop Interstate 90. The business route joined the Ellensburg city center between Exits 106 and 109 and used Main Street south to Canyon Road from University Way. Photo taken 08/31/06.
Reassurance marker for U.S. 97 north posted after the intersection with Dolarway Road and University Way. U.S. 97 continues a short distance north to merge with former U.S. 10. The highway originally followed Dry Creek Road west from Faust Road. Photo taken 08/31/06.

Photo Credits:

  • 2006-08-28 by AARoads.
  • 2006-08-31 by AARoads and Chris Kalina.
  • 2011-08-03 by AARoads.

Connect with:
Interstate 82
Interstate 90
U.S. Highway 12
Washington 14

Page Updated 10-26-2011.

© AARoads