Washington State Route 99

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State Route 99 marker

State Route 99
Pacific Highway
William P. Stewart Memorial Highway
SR 99 is highlighted in red.
Route information
Defined by RCW 47.17.160
Maintained by WSDOT
Length: 49.13 mi[2] (79.07 km)
Existed: 1964[1] – present
Southern segment
South end: I‑5 in Fife
Major
junctions:
SR 18 in Federal Way
SR 509 in Federal Way
North end: SR 518 in SeaTac
Northern segment
South end: SR 599 in Tukwila
Major
junctions:
SR 509 in Seattle
SR 525 in Lynnwood
North end: I‑5 / SR 526 / SR 527 in Everett
Location
Counties: Pierce, King, Snohomish
Highway system
US 97 SR 100

State Route 99 (SR 99), also known as the Pacific Highway, is a state highway in the Seattle metropolitan area, part of the U.S. state of Washington. It runs 49 miles (79 km) from Fife in the south to Everett in the north, passing through the cities of Federal Way, SeaTac, Seattle, Shoreline, and Lynnwood. The highway is divided into two segments by a 3-mile (4.8 km) gap in the city of Tukwila, between the interchanges of SR 518 and SR 599. Most of the route is a major arterial street, with some freeway segments, including the Alaskan Way Viaduct in Seattle.

SR 99 follows a segment of U.S. Route 99 (US 99), which originally crossed the state from north to south, connecting the Oregon state line at Vancouver to the Canadian border in Blaine. US 99 was replaced by Interstate 5 (I-5) in the 1960s, and SR 99 was created to keep segments of the highway under state control. It was officially named the William P. Stewart Memorial Highway in 2016, after a 15-year campaign to replace an earlier designation.

Route description[edit]

Southern segment[edit]

SR 99 begins at the partial cloverleaf interchange between Interstate 5 and 54th Avenue East in Fife, located within the Puyallup Indian Reservation. Immediately north of the interchange, SR 99 turns east onto Pacific Highway and passes the Emerald Queen Casino. The highway makes a gradual turn to the north, parallel to Interstate 5, and crosses briefly into Milton before entering Federal Way in King County. The road cuts northeast towards Kitts Corner, where it intersects the western terminus of State Route 18 near its interchange with I-5. SR 99 continues due north through Federal Way, passing the city's downtown area near The Commons at Federal Way, and gains a set of high-occupancy vehicle lanes. Near Redondo Beach, the highway intersects State Route 509, which becomes concurrent with SR 99 through Des Moines for approximately four miles (6 km).[3] The concurrency ends at an intersection with Kent Des Moines Road (SR 516) near Highline College. SR 99 enters the city of SeaTac and continues north as International Boulevard, passing Angle Lake and a light rail station on the approach to Seattle–Tacoma International Airport. The highway runs on the east side of the airport and its expressway, serving the terminals, parking garage, light rail station, and nearby hotels. SR 99 terminates at an interchange with State Route 518 in southern Tukwila, near the airport's rental car facility and the Tukwila light rail station.[3][4] A 2.6-mile (4.2 km) segment of International Boulevard forms the gap between the two segments of SR 99.

Northern segment[edit]

Alaskan Way Viaduct, looking southeast

SR 99 resumes as a continuation of SR 599, a short freeway connection to I-5, at an interchange with International Boulevard. The freeway travels northwest along the Duwamish River, across from Boeing Field, into the city of Seattle. In the city's South Park neighborhood, SR 99 intersects and continues onto SR 509, crossing the Duwamish River on the First Avenue South Bridge. The highway turns northwest onto East Marginal Way South, traveling through the city's industrial and warehouse district. SR 99 travels through an interchange with the eastern approach of the West Seattle Bridge and the Spokane Street Viaduct as a four-lane freeway. It expands to six lanes through the SoDo neighborhood, passing the Starbucks headquarters, Port of Seattle container ship terminal, and Coast Guard Station Seattle. Near CenturyLink Field and Safeco Field, SR 99 rises onto the Alaskan Way Viaduct, an elevated double-decker freeway running northwesterly along the city's waterfront. The viaduct has exits to Downtown Seattle and passes the city's ferry terminal, Seattle Aquarium, and Pike Place Market. The highway descends from the viaduct into the Battery Street Tunnel, which runs under Battery Street through Belltown.[3][5]

The Battery Street Tunnel runs for 3,140 feet (960 m) underneath Battery Street. The tunnel carries SR 99 underneath the Belltown neighborhood of Seattle and onto Aurora Avenue North.[6] The tunnel was built in 1952 using the cut-and-cover method. It carries two traffic lanes in each direction, and connects the Alaskan Way Viaduct to Aurora Avenue N., providing continuity for State Route 99. There are no sidewalks or other provisions for pedestrians or bicyclists in the Tunnel. When an incident blocking traffic takes place within the tunnel, warning lights advise motorists to exit SR-99 at Western Avenue (northbound) and Denny Way (southbound). Emergency exits are placed behind sliding doors, with stairways leading up to Battery Street on the surface. The tunnel is scheduled to be replaced by the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement tunnel, which is under construction, in 2017. The tunnel will be closed and filled in after the replacement tunnel opens.[7]

Aurora Avenue with the George Washington Memorial Bridge and downtown Seattle in the background

Aurora Avenue at this point is lined with businesses, residences, side streets and sidewalks. There is a median barrier, so cross traffic and left turns are not available; access is right-in/right-out (RIRO) only. There are also several pedestrian overpasses and underpasses along this route. As Aurora Avenue nears and passes along the east flank of Queen Anne Hill, the median barrier ends, although access remains RIRO. Aurora Avenue then crosses the Lake Washington Ship Canal on the George Washington Memorial Bridge (1932). At the interchange for Bridge Way, a very low median barrier begins, rising to a higher wall a bit north of North 38th Street. The barrier lowers again just beyond North 49th Street. Aurora Avenue then bisects Woodland Park, with the barrier replaced by paint stripes until the next side street, North 59th. The higher wall resumes as Aurora Avenue approaches the northbound entrance from Green Lake Way. Just north of North 68th Street, there is a traffic light-controlled crosswalk across Aurora Avenue through a narrow break in the median. RIRO access ends and cross traffic resumes just before Winona Avenue North, which is the first traffic light-controlled intersection on Aurora Avenue. Aurora Avenue continues northward to 145th Street, which intersection is also the west terminus of SR 523. At that point, SR 99 leaves Seattle and enters Shoreline as it continues northward on Aurora Avenue. SR 99 and Aurora Avenue crosses a former Interurban Railway right-of-way, now an urban trail, near North 155th Street.[8] It then continues north to the King County - Snohomish County line, which consists of a street marked North 205th Street in King County and 244th Street Southwest in Snohomish County.[6]

Upon entering Snohomish County and the city of Edmonds, the highway changes names to Pacific Highway North and crosses interchange with SR 104. The highway continues north into Edmonds.[6]

Southbound SR 99 at the 112th Street SE intersection

North of Edmonds, SR 99 enters Lynnwood, where it is known as Highway 99. SR 99 intersects SR 524 at 196th Street Southwest. SR 99 intersects SR 525 (known as the Mukilteo Speedway) at a partial interchange near Serene Lake. This interchange marks the northern end of the SR 525 freeway, which is an extension of Interstate 405.

After a journey through Lynnwood, SR 99 enters Everett, where it becomes known as Evergreen Way, until 3 miles (4.8 km) south of its terminus. At an intersection of Evergreen Way and Everett Mall Way, SR 99 goes northeast on Everett Mall Way. SR 99 passes the Mall near its interchange/intersection with Interstate 5, SR 526, and SR 527.

Before the completion of Interstate 5, SR 99 used to follow Evergreen Way onto Everett Mall Way (then known as "The Broadway Cut-Off") to Broadway; it then continued northbound through downtown Everett on Broadway. As Evergreen Way continues north in Everett, it becomes Rucker Avenue just south of 41st Street. Rucker Avenue intersects the former alignment of SR 526 at 41st Street.

History[edit]

Alaskan Way Viaduct under construction, 1952.
Battery Street Tunnel under construction, 1953.

Originally, State Route 99 was named Pacific Highway 1, which itself had been built over an earlier wagon road named R.F. Morrow Road.[9] SR 99 is a small part of the former US 99, which extended from the Canada–US border at the Peace Arch in Blaine, Washington to Vancouver, Washington at the Oregon Border. SR 99 is primarily the route of US 99 where building Interstate 5 along the same route would have been prohibitively expensive, or would not have served the greater good. Also, with the exception of the freeway sections, and from the Battery Street Tunnel to the north side of the George Washington Bridge (Aurora Bridge), SR 99 is tightly lined with stores, making any expansion nearly impossible. SR 99 used to be both US 99 and Primary State Highway (PSH) 1. As I-5 was built, these designations were moved to the new alignments from state line to international border until I-5 began being designated over the route. They were then co-signed briefly, and later, around the time of the 1964 state highway renumbering, SR 99 was redesignated over much of its former route. Slowly, over time, SR 99 was cut back to the current routing from Fife to Everett. In 2004 the state legislature removed the SR 99 designation from the part of the route along Tukwila International Boulevard in Tukwila. The same act also specified that the alignment south of SR 18 will be abandoned once the new SR 509 freeway is completed from Tacoma to Federal Way.[1]

Originally, US 99 was routed through the downtown Seattle streets, along 1st Avenue and 1st Avenue South. When the viaduct was built and US 99 was transferred to it, the old route became U.S. Route 99 Alternate (later Business). On the Alaskan Way Viaduct, near its southern terminus, there were ghost ramps on the east side of the structure. These were the only interchange structures created when the viaduct was first built in anticipation of the US 10 freeway (now Interstate 90) being completed into Seattle, and being extended to SR/US 99. However, the construction of the new downtown bypass tunnel has since removed this former portion of the original viaduct. To this day, an older US 99 sign is still in place on an overhead sign at the Columbia Street onramp to the Alaskan Way Viaduct in downtown Seattle.

Formerly, SR 99 extended through downtown Everett. However, shortly after the opening of the Boeing Freeway and the Everett Mall, SR 99 was rerouted via Everett Mall Way to terminate at the interchange of the Boeing Freeway (SR 526), SR 527, and I-5, but part of SR 99 still extends from the northern part of Everett as State Route 529, becoming State Street through Marysville, then Smokey Point Boulevard.

Many cities and towns along the I-5 corridor in Washington have streets named 'Highway 99', 'Old Highway 99', 'Pacific Highway', or simply 'Old 99' all used to be part of US 99. Those cities with the streets still designated 'Highway 99' can cause confusion with people unfamiliar with the area, as they expect the street to be part of SR 99. This is most apparent in Vancouver, Washington whose "Hwy 99" is often confused for a state route.

When known as 'US 99', the highway received federal funding for maintenance; at the point when federal funding was no longer provided, the road designation was changed to 'SR 99'.

On November 27, 1998, a gunman shot and killed bus driver Mark McLaughlin on Seattle's 359 bus route, which ran down Highway 99. The gunman, Silas Cool, then shot and killed himself. At the time of the incident, the bus was traveling southbound across the George Washington Memorial Bridge on Aurora Avenue North, just north of the approach to the Lake Washington Ship Canal. After McLaughlin was shot, the bus veered across two lanes of traffic and plunged 50 feet off the bridge into Seattle's Fremont neighborhood. It landed on an apartment building and then tumbled to the ground. The driver, gunman, and one other passenger died, and 32 other passengers were injured. [10] Soon after the incident, the route was renamed from 359 to 358, [11]

In recent years, three segments of State Route 99 have had their curb lanes converted to business access and transit lanes (BAT lanes) to accommodate increased bus service that was later converted to bus rapid transit. Swift Bus Rapid Transit between Shoreline and Everett began service in 2009,[12] the RapidRide A Line from Federal Way to Tukwila began operating in 2010, and the RapidRide E Line from Downtown Seattle to Shoreline replaced King County Metro route 358 in 2014.[13]

Names and designations[edit]

In 1939, the Washington state legislature named the road "Jefferson Davis Highway", making it the final component of the Jefferson Davis Memorial Highway, which the United Daughters of the Confederacy intended to travel through the South and up the west coast to Canada.[14] In 2002, the state's House of Representatives unanimously approved a bill that would have removed Davis' name from the road. However, a committee of the state's Senate subsequently killed the proposal.[15][16]

In May 2016, the highway was designated as the William P. Stewart Memorial Highway, named after an African-American Civil War veteran and early settler in Snohomish.[17]

Major intersections[edit]

County Location mi[2] km Destinations Notes
Pierce Fife 0.00 0.00 I‑5 – Seattle, Tacoma Southern terminus
Milton 1.62 2.61 Porter Way Former SR 514
King Federal Way 4.49 7.23 SR 18 east (South 348th Street) to I‑5 – Auburn, North Bend
7.72 12.42 SR 509 south (South Dash Point Road) – Dash Point State Park South end of SR 509 overlap
Des Moines 11.84 19.05 SR 516 / SR 509 north to I‑5 – Des Moines, Kent North end of SR 509 overlap
SeaTac 15.11 24.32 South 182nd Street – Sea–Tac Airport
SeaTacTukwila
city line
16.78 27.00 SR 518 to I‑5 / I‑405 Interchange; south end of gap
Tukwila International Boulevard Continuation beyond SR 518
Gap in route
Tukwila 16.79 27.02 SR 599 south to I‑5 Interchange; north end of gap
Tukwila International Boulevard Continuation beyond SR 599
South end of freeway
17.61 28.34 West Marginal Place South Northbound exit and entrance
Seattle 18.63 29.98 Des Moines Memorial Drive, 14th Avenue South
19.22 30.93 South Cloverdale Street Northbound entrance only
19.56 31.48 South Kenyon Street – South Park Southbound exit and entrance
North end of freeway
20.27 32.62 SR 509 south / West Marginal Way South – Burien
Duwamish River 20.27–
20.82
32.62–
33.51
First Avenue South Bridge
Seattle 20.60 33.15 To I‑5 / Michigan Street
South end of freeway
22.65 36.45 Spokane Street – West Seattle Northbound exit and southbound entrance
22.74 36.60 West Seattle BridgeHarbor Island Southbound exit and northbound entrance
24.24 39.01 South Atlantic Street Southbound exit and northbound entrance
25.03 40.28 Columbia Street Southbound entrance only
25.04 40.30 Seneca Street Northbound exit only
25.69 41.34 Western Avenue
25.78–
26.18
41.49–
42.13
Battery Street Tunnel
26.30 42.33 Denny Way – Downtown Seattle Southbound exit and northbound entrance
North end of freeway
Lake Union 27.91–
28.47
44.92–
45.82
George Washington Memorial Bridge
Seattle 28.57 45.98 North 38th Street Interchange
29.21 47.01 North 46th Street Interchange
30.04 48.34 North 63rd Street, Green Lake Way Interchange
SeattleShoreline
city line
34.21 55.06 SR 523 east (North 145th Street) to I‑5
KingSnohomish
county line
ShorelineEdmonds
city line
37.23 59.92
SR 104 Spur east to SR 104 east / I‑5 – Mountlake Terrace, Lake Forest Park
Snohomish Edmonds 37.34 60.09 SR 104 to I‑5 – Edmonds, Kingston Ferry, Mountlake Terrace, Lake Forest Park Interchange
Lynnwood 40.58 65.31 SR 524 (196th Street Southwest)
44.36 71.39 SR 525 to I‑5 south / I‑405 south / Alderwood Mall Parkway – Mukilteo, Whidbey Island Ferry Interchange
Everett 48.96–
49.13
78.79–
79.07
I‑5 – Seattle, Vancouver BC
49.13 79.07 SR 526 west / SR 527 south Northern terminus
Broadway Continuation beyond SR 526/SR 527
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "47.17.160: State route No. 99". Revised Code of Washington. Washington State Legislature. 1970; revised 1971, 1979, 2004. Retrieved April 17, 2014.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  2. ^ a b Finch, Mark, ed. (March 4, 2014). State Highway Log: Planning Report 2013, SR 2 to SR 971 (PDF) (Report). Washington State Department of Transportation. pp. 861–891. Retrieved April 17, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c Washington State Department of Transportation (2014). Washington State Highways, 2014–2015 (PDF) (Map). Olympia, Washington: Washington State Department of Transportation. Retrieved September 25, 2017.  (Inset map)
  4. ^ Google (September 25, 2017). "State Route 99 (southern segment)" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved September 25, 2017. 
  5. ^ Google (September 27, 2017). "State Route 99 (northern segment)" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved September 27, 2017. 
  6. ^ a b c Seattle, Washington, city series (maps), American Automobile Association, 2008 
  7. ^ "Alaskan Way Viaduct - FAQs". Washington State Department of Transportation. WSDOT. Retrieved August 11, 2013. 
  8. ^ City of Shoreline, Interurban Trail. Retrieved on April 18, 2010.
  9. ^ "SR 99 North: North End of Battery Street Tunnel to N. 145th Street Route Development Plan" (PDF). Washington State Department of Transportation. Retrieved December 3, 2007. 
  10. ^ McRoberts, Patrick (December 3, 1998). "Metro bus plunges off Seattle's Aurora Bridge after driver is shot on November 27, 1998". HistoryLink. Retrieved September 24, 2015. 
  11. ^ Argo, Jason (May 12, 2010). "In defense of the 358". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved September 24, 2015. 
  12. ^ Lindblom, Mike (November 30, 2009). "Bus rapid transit launches today from Everett to Shoreline". The Seattle Times. Retrieved September 24, 2015. 
  13. ^ Lindblom, Mike (February 15, 2014). "Aurora Avenue North bus now RapidRide". The Seattle Times. Retrieved September 24, 2015. 
  14. ^ Ray, Susanna (January 24, 2002). "Jefferson Davis Highway here? Legislator outraged". The Everett Herald. Retrieved November 8, 2013. 
  15. ^ Verhovek, Sam Howe (February 14, 2002). "Road Named for Jefferson Davis Stirs Spirited Debate". The New York Times. Retrieved October 13, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Senate Committee Kills Plan To Rename Jefferson Davis Highway". KOMO News. Seattle, Washington: Sinclair Interactive Media. August 30, 2006. Retrieved July 21, 2016. 
  17. ^ Cornfield, Jerry (May 18, 2016). "SR 99 to be renamed for Snohomish black Civil War soldier". The Everett Herald. Retrieved May 18, 2016. 

External links[edit]

Route map: Google

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