Washington State Route 11

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State Route 11 marker

State Route 11

Chuckanut Drive
SR 11 highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by WSDOT
Length21.30 mi[1] (34.28 km)
Existed1964[2]–present
Tourist
routes
Chuckanut Drive Scenic Byway
Major junctions
South end I-5 in Burlington
North end I-5 in Bellingham
Location
CountryUnited States
StateWashington
CountiesSkagit, Whatcom
Highway system
SR 10 US 12

State Route 11 (SR 11) is a 21.28-mile (34.25 km) long state highway that serves Skagit and Whatcom counties in the U.S. state of Washington. SR 11, known as Chuckanut Drive, begins at an interchange with Interstate 5 (I-5) north of Burlington and continues northwest through several small towns and the Chuckanut Mountains to the Fairhaven district of Bellingham, where the highway turns east and ends again at I-5.

A segment of what is now SR 11 was originally added to the state highway system in 1895 as a Blanchard – Whatcom County line road. The highway became State Road 6 in 1905 and was named Waterfront Road in 1907. The road was incorporated into the Pacific Highway in 1913 and U.S. Route 99 (US 99) in 1926. After an inland bypass was designated by the state to become US 99 in 1931, Chuckanut Drive became U.S. Route 99 Alternate. During the 1964 highway renumbering, the road became SR 11. In 1987, SR 11 was realigned through Bellingham, shifting its northern terminus south to Fairhaven.

Route description[edit]

Trees forming a canopy over the highway.
SR 11 in the Chuckanut Mountains south of Bellingham

SR 11, also named Chuckanut Drive, begins north of Burlington at a partial cloverleaf interchange with I-5. The interchange includes two roundabouts that also connect with Burlington Boulevard and Josh Wilson Road. The highway travels northwest through farmland at the north edge of the Skagit Valley, generally following the BNSF Bellingham Subdivision, a railroad that also carries Amtrak's Cascades passenger trains.[3][4] SR 11 then turns north at a junction with Bow Hill Road (formerly SR 537)[5] near the communities of Edison and Bow at the head of Samish Bay.[6][7]

The highway crosses over the railroad near Blanchard and turns northwest to follow Samish Bay around the west side of Blanchard Mountain at the south end of the Chuckanut Mountains.[8] A sculpture of the Loch Ness Monster in Samish Bay is visible from the road and was installed by a local artist in the 2010s.[9] Chuckanut Drive then passes a Taylor Shellfish oyster farm and traverses a pair of hairpin turns at Oyster Creek near Pigeon Point.[10] SR 11 crosses into Whatcom County and travels northwest through Larrabee State Park, the oldest state park in Washington, serving its trailhead parking lots, campgrounds, and a boat launch.[11] Leaving the state park, the highway follows the Interurban Trail along Chuckanut Bay and through residential areas on the sides of the mountains.[6][11]

Chuckanut Drive then enters the city of Bellingham and travels around an estuary near Teddy Bear Cove, a former nude beach, as it leaves the Interurban Trail.[12] It travels through a residential neighborhood and descends into Fairhaven, a historic business district on Bellingham Bay with an Amtrak station and the Bellingham Cruise Terminal, the southern terminus of the Alaska Marine Highway ferry.[13] The highway turns east onto Old Fairhaven Parkway and travels through a residential neighborhood as it heads uphill along Padden Creek. SR 11 then terminates at an interchange with I-5 in southern Bellingham, with the road continuing as Connelly Avenue towards the Lake Padden neighborhood.[6][14]

SR 11 is designated as the Chuckanut Drive Scenic Byway, a state scenic byway, and is maintained by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT).[15] WSDOT conducts an annual survey on state highways to measure traffic volume in terms of annual average daily traffic. Average traffic volumes on SR 11 in 2016 ranged from a minimum of 2,300 vehicles near Bow Hill Road to a maximum of 14,000 vehicles near Fairhaven.[16] Chuckanut Drive is generally two lanes wide with a narrow shoulder and has seasonal peaks in use based on recreation and farming.[3]

History[edit]

Alt plate 1961.svg

U.S. Route 99 Alternate marker

U.S. Route 99 Alternate

LocationBurlingtonBellingham
Existed1937–1967

Parts of modern SR 11 have been part of the state highway systems in Washington since 1895, when a road from Blanchard to Whatcom County became a state-maintained roadway.[17] The road became State Road 6 in 1905 and was named Waterfront Road in 1907.[18][19] A survey of a north–south highway from Blaine to Vancouver was approved in 1909,[20][21] and the highway was built as the Pacific Highway in 1913. In Skagit County, the Pacific Highway utilized the pre-existing State Road 6.[22][23] Chuckanut Drive, a 20-mile-long (32 km) section of the Pacific Highway in the Chuckanut Mountains, was opened as a gravel road during the spring of 1916 and paved in 1921.[24][25] The Pacific Highway became State Road 1 in a 1923 restructuring of the highway system, at which time State Road 6 was completely replaced.[26] When the U.S. route system was formed in 1926, the Pacific Highway became US 99.[27] In 1931, an inland bypass via Lake Samish was added to State Road 1 and US 99.[28][29]

US 99 became Primary State Highway 1 (PSH 1) in 1937 and US 99 Alternate became the Chuckanut Drive branch of the main highway, running from Burlington to downtown Bellingham.[30][31] A 1964 renumbering introduced a new system of sign routes that was scheduled to go into effect in 1970. As originally planned, the Chuckanut Drive branch of PSH 1—already US 99 Alternate—would be co-signed as SR 11.[2][32] A freeway bypass of Bellingham on I-5 was opened to traffic on December 5, 1960, replacing US 99 through the city.[33] The US 99 Alternate designation was fully replaced with SR 11 when the new numbering system was codified in 1970.[2][34]

SR 11 originally continued northeast through Downtown Bellingham to the Iowa Street interchange with I-5.[35][36] The state legislature created Secondary State Highway 1F (SSH 1F; also known as SR 110) in 1967, which would connect Chuckanut Drive in Fairhaven to I-5.[37] A new highway on the corridor had been proposed by the Bellingham city government in 1966 and received approval from the Washington State Department of Highways in 1969.[38] The 1.2-mile (1.9 km) road—named Valley Parkway—was opened to traffic in November 1972.[39][40] SR 11 was rerouted onto the new highway when it opened, replacing SR 110, per a provision passed in 1971 by the state legislature.[41][42] Valley Parkway was renamed to Old Fairhaven Parkway by the Bellingham Planning Commission in 1986, following a campaign by businesses and boosters in Fairhaven to promote the neighborhood's historic center.[43]

Major intersections[edit]

CountyLocationmi[1]kmDestinationsNotes
SkagitBurlington0.000.00 I-5 – Seattle, Vancouver BCInterchange, continues as Burlington Boulevard
6.9011.10West Bow Hill RoadFormer SR 237
WhatcomBellingham21.3034.28 I-5 – Seattle, Vancouver BCInterchange, continues as Connelly Avenue
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Multimodal Planning Division (January 4, 2021). State Highway Log Planning Report 2020, SR 2 to SR 971 (PDF) (Report). Washington State Department of Transportation. pp. 280–285. Retrieved September 23, 2021.{{cite report}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ a b c Washington State Legislature (1970). "RCW 47.17.050: State route No. 11". Retrieved November 23, 2010.
  3. ^ a b "Corridor Sketch Summary – SR 11: I-5 Jct (N Burlintgon) to 12th St at Old Fairhaven Pkwy (Bellingham)" (PDF). Washington State Department of Transportation. October 28, 2019. Retrieved December 14, 2021.
  4. ^ 2015 Washington State Rail System By Owner (PDF) (Map). Washington State Department of Transportation. January 2016. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 28, 2018. Retrieved December 14, 2021.
  5. ^ Washington House of Representatives (1991). "Chapter 342, Laws of 1991: State Highway Routes – Revisions To (House Bill 5801)". Washington State Legislature. Archived from the original on August 4, 2012. Retrieved November 23, 2010.
  6. ^ a b c Google (December 14, 2021). "State Route 11" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved December 14, 2021.
  7. ^ Egan, Timothy (June 1, 2003). "Drivers' Education: Washington; A Northwest sampler: mountains, forest and sea". The New York Times. p. TR8. Retrieved December 14, 2021.
  8. ^ "Chuckanut Drive State Route 11 Corridor Management Plan". Whatcom Council of Governments. December 18, 2003. pp. 49–54. Retrieved December 14, 2021 – via WSDOT Library Digital Collections.
  9. ^ Relyea, Kie (May 29, 2018). "Here's the 'monster' mystery behind the 'creature' in Samish Bay". The Bellingham Herald. Retrieved August 16, 2018.
  10. ^ Meredith Bethune (September 12, 2014), "Best oyster bars in America", Travel & Leisure, archived from the original on 2015-02-17
  11. ^ a b McQuaide, Mike (February 17, 2010). "A detour worth taking: Your mile-by-mile guide to scenic Chuckanut Drive". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on March 24, 2010. Retrieved December 14, 2021.
  12. ^ Interurban Trail (Map). Whatcom County Parks and Recreation Department. April 2019. Retrieved December 14, 2021.
  13. ^ Washington State Department of Transportation (2014). Washington State Highways, 2014–2015 (PDF) (Map). 1:842,000. Olympia: Washington State Department of Transportation. Bellingham inset. Retrieved December 14, 2021.
  14. ^ "Corridor Sketch Summary – SR 11: 12th St at Old Fairhaven Pkwy (Bellingham) to I-5 Jct (Bellingham)" (PDF). Washington State Department of Transportation. March 27, 2018. Retrieved December 14, 2021.
  15. ^ "Washington State's Scenic Byways & Road Trips" (PDF). Washington State Department of Transportation. 2018. pp. 48–49. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 22, 2021. Retrieved December 14, 2021.
  16. ^ 2016 Annual Traffic Report (PDF) (Report). Washington State Department of Transportation. 2017. p. 87. Retrieved October 16, 2021.
  17. ^ Washington State Legislature (March 22, 1895). "Chapter 168". Session Laws of the State of Washington. Session Laws of the State of Washington (1895 ed.). Olympia, Wash.: Washington State Legislature. p. 461. Retrieved November 23, 2010.
  18. ^ Washington State Legislature (January 16, 1905). "Chapter 7". Session Laws of the State of Washington. Session Laws of the State of Washington (1905 ed.). Olympia, Wash.: Washington State Legislature. p. 22. Retrieved November 23, 2010.
  19. ^ Washington State Legislature (March 13, 1907). "Chapter 151". Session Laws of the State of Washington. Session Laws of the State of Washington (1907 ed.). Olympia, Wash.: Washington State Legislature. p. 310. Retrieved November 23, 2010.
  20. ^ Washington State Legislature (March 4, 1909). "Chapter 51". Session Laws of the State of Washington. Session Laws of the State of Washington (1909 ed.). Olympia, Wash.: Washington State Legislature. p. 95. Retrieved November 23, 2010.
  21. ^ Washington State Highways (DjVu) (Map). Washington State Highway Commission. 1909. Retrieved November 23, 2010.
  22. ^ Washington State Legislature (March 12, 1913). "Chapter 65". Session Laws of the State of Washington. Session Laws of the State of Washington (1913 ed.). Olympia, Wash.: Washington State Legislature. p. 221. Retrieved November 23, 2010.
  23. ^ Washington State Highways (DjVu) (Map). Washington State Highway Commission. 1915. Retrieved November 23, 2010.
  24. ^ Dougherty, Phil (June 20, 2011). "Chuckanut Drive opens in the spring of 1916". HistoryLink. Retrieved April 12, 2013.
  25. ^ "Historic Highway SR 11". Washington State Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on May 13, 2021. Retrieved December 14, 2021.
  26. ^ Washington State Legislature (March 19, 1923). "Chapter 185". Session Laws of the State of Washington. Session Laws of the State of Washington (1923 ed.). Olympia, Wash.: Washington State Legislature. pp. 627–628. Retrieved November 23, 2010.
  27. ^ Bureau of Public Roads & American Association of State Highway Officials (November 11, 1926). United States System of Highways Adopted for Uniform Marking by the American Association of State Highway Officials (Map). 1:7,000,000. Washington, DC: United States Geological Survey. OCLC 32889555. Retrieved November 7, 2013 – via Wikimedia Commons.
  28. ^ Washington State Highways (DjVu) (Map). Washington State Highway Commission. 1931. Retrieved November 23, 2010.
  29. ^ Washington State Highways (DjVu) (Map). Washington Department of Highways. 1933. Retrieved November 23, 2010.
  30. ^ Washington State Legislature (March 17, 1937). "Chapter 190". Session Laws of the State of Washington (PDF). Session Laws of the State of Washington (1937 ed.). Olympia, Wash.: Washington State Legislature. p. 933. Retrieved November 23, 2010.
  31. ^ Washington State Highways (DjVu) (Map). Washington State Highway Commission. 1939. Retrieved November 23, 2010.
  32. ^ Prahl, C. G. (December 1, 1965). "Identification of State Highways, Part 1" (PDF). Washington State Highway Commission. p. 7. Retrieved November 23, 2010.
  33. ^ "Bellingham Freeway in Use". The Bellingham Herald. December 5, 1960. p. 1. Retrieved November 30, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  34. ^ Victoria, 1966 (Map). 1:250,000. Cartography by United States Army Corps of Engineers. United States Geological Survey. 1966. Retrieved November 23, 2010.
  35. ^ Washington State Department of Highways (1967). 1967 Washington Highway Map (Map). Olympia: Washington State Highway Commission. Retrieved November 30, 2022 – via WSDOT Library Digital Collections.
  36. ^ Bellingham North Quadrangle (Topographic map). 1:24,000. United States Geological Survey. 1972 [1952]. Retrieved November 30, 2022.
  37. ^ Washington State Legislature (May 11, 1967). "Chapter 145: Highways" (PDF). Session Laws of the State of Washington, 1967 1st extraordinary session. Washington State Legislature. p. 2303. Retrieved November 30, 2022.
  38. ^ Chen, Stanford (December 12, 1971). "South Bellingham highway defended". The Bellingham Herald. p. 11. Retrieved November 30, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  39. ^ "Work to begin on new South Bellingham link". The Bellingham Herald. May 26, 1972. p. 1. Retrieved November 30, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  40. ^ "Valley Parkway or Whatever Open". The Bellingham Herald. November 5, 1972. p. 32. Retrieved November 30, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  41. ^ "Truck route now Highway 11". The Bellingham Herald. November 2, 1972. p. 2. Retrieved November 30, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  42. ^ Washington State Legislature (May 18, 1971). "Chapter 73: State Highway Routes" (PDF). Session Laws of the State of Washington, 1971 1st extraordinary session. Washington State Legislature. p. 524. Retrieved November 30, 2022.
  43. ^ Casey, Carolyn (October 25, 1986). "South Side street changes name". The Bellingham Herald. p. A1. Retrieved November 30, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.

External links[edit]

Route map:

KML is from Wikidata