Kitsap freeway exits aren’t numbered – so far

The in basket: It’s funny how important sources of information on highways where a driver is unfamiliar become just background noise in that driver’s home area, where  he doesn’t need the help. 

That’s true of me, so I was caught by surprise when Bill Vale of Suquamish asked why the only freeway interchange in Kitsap County at which the off-ramps are numbered is the new one in Silverdale. 

As much as I use freeway off-ramp numbers to find motels and restaurants when traveling, they are so unimportant to me around here than I hadn’t noticed their absence until Bill wrote. 

“I notice at the Kitsap Mall exit, it is Exit 45,” he said. “Going north, you have exit 45A and 45B.   

“These are the only signs that I have seen in the county that actually utilize the mile marker,” he said. “Poulsbo could be exit 54 A (Finn Hill) and 54B (Highway305). 

“Is the county beginning to use this system? Or why did they designate Waaga Way as Exit 45?” he asked.

The out basket: It’s the state, not the county, that manages the freeways and their off-ramps, and, yes, it is moving gradually toward adding them. 

“For years, maybe decades,” says Steve Bennett, the Olympic Region traffic engineer, “we numbered only Interstate route exits.  Several years ago, we decided that policy didn’t make sense and began, as new construction came to a corridor, to add exit numbers to all multi-lane divided freeways.”

The Highway 3-303 interchange is the most recent one substantially modified here. I would assume the Burley-Olalla Road interchange will have its exits numbered,corresponding with the nearest milepost marker, when it opens later this year.

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