Recent accidents on US 101 confirm necessity of signage

Posted 11/2/22

As US Highway 101 winds its way through Jefferson County, it’s infamous for accidents involving out-of-state drivers.

Especially when wet.

With the first rains of the year, one …

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Recent accidents on US 101 confirm necessity of signage

Posted

As US Highway 101 winds its way through Jefferson County, it’s infamous for accidents involving out-of-state drivers.

Especially when wet.

With the first rains of the year, one particularly nefarious stretch at Milepost 302 has had two accidents in less than 24 hours between Oct. 27 through Oct. 28.

“No rain for a long time, you know how the story goes,” Brinnon Fire Chief Tim Manly said.

“It’s always the same scenario: It’s people that aren’t from the area, don’t drive this, etc.”

In October 2021, critical signage near Milepost 302 on US 101 went down for repair which led to a series of eight accidents in one month.

It wasn’t until Manly raised his voice in concern that it was returned, this time refitted not only with its blinking beacon but additional flags for visibility.

Since that time, accidents like the ones last week have drastically declined.

“It’s only the fourth one and it’s already November. That’s 11 months and I’ve only had four,” Manly said.

“We’re doing something right,” he added.

In the past, Manly has stated that rumble strips would be the next step if accidents continue unabated, but, for the most part, the current solution seems to be working.

Further along on the highway, however, another accident occurred on Oct. 28 involving a commercial truck which lost control and ended up smashed into a tree on the side of the road just before the Hama Hama Bridge.

“I’m working with the state and actual trucking companies, and what I’m trying to do is get the semis to not even come down this way, period,” Manly said.

The typical scenario he described in these cases involves shipping companies flying in professional drivers from out of state who are taking orders from the paper mill or the landfill down to California. Having never driven local roads, they don’t know the hazards and follow whatever GPS tells them, despite safer alternatives.

“They’re heading for I-5 and it’s pulling them through Brinnon. And there is no reason whatsoever that these commercial trucks need to be coming down this way,” Manly said.

Manly’s goal is to get signage that would instruct trucks to stay on Highway 104 to get to Interstate 5.

While he’s heard arguments that businesses these truckers might use could lose out, that doesn’t add up in his mind.

“It’s not realistic,” he said. “They just left wherever they came from — the paper mill, Port Angeles, whatever — they’re fully loaded, bellies are full, gas tanks are full. Their first for stopping for fuel is going to be deep down south on I-5.”

“I’m not stealing any business from anybody by making them not come this way. There’s no truck stop down there. Nobody is benefitting from these big trucks coming through here.”

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