Arrow and Yield sign puzzle drivers at Tremont interchange

The in basket: Dave Dahlke and Katie Ruley has questions about the Tremont interchange on Highway 16 in Port Orchard.

Dave wonders what the arrow at the downhill end of the northbound Highway 16 off-ramp there is supposed to mean.

“I see left-  and right-turn arrows in center turn lanes,” he said. “I see left-turn arrows and right-turn arrows signifying what I believe to be only those turns allowed in other lanes. What  (is) the purpose of a straight-ahead white arrow on the pavement on the off-ramp from Highway 16 to Tremont? “Makes me wonder if any out-of-town drivers assume the only option is to drive straight ahead which puts them  back on Highway 16 via the on-ramp.”

Katie is perplexed by the position of the Yield sign that assigns right-of-way to left turners coming off Tremont to head toward Gorst on the freeway, over right turners using the same on-ramp.

“If I am waiting to turn left into oncoming traffic to enter the highway,” she said, “it would seem to me impossible that I would have the right of way, but yet people do! And now there is a yield sign? This makes no sense.”

The out basket: The white arrows on that off-ramp and many others, which I had never noticed until Dave asked, are designed to tell drivers what not to do, not what to do.

They are a visual cue to anyone who has turned from Tremont onto the off-ramp that they ARE GOING THE WRONG WAY!! It hopes to keep them out of the high speed highway traffic.

You’ll also see them on the mainline of Highway 16 near Haven of Rest Cemetery in Gig Harbor and in Gorst in front of Navy City Metals. Both are near places where drivers have a way to get headed the wrong way on a divided highway.

As for the Yield sign, I told Katie that a right turner  certainly doesn’t have to yield to a car that is waiting for traffic to clear to begin the left turn. But when the two traffic flows actually conflict, right of way must be assigned to one or the other.

In this and similar cases, says Steve Bennett, traffic operations engineer for the Olympic Region of state highways, giving the left turner the right of way “is more safe for all involved.

“The right turner is in a protected spot and can safely wait for the left turner to pass by. The left turner, if he has already begun his turn, may be blocking a lane if forced to wait for the right turner. This could cause traffic on the through road to make  sudden stops or swerve to avoid hitting the blocking vehicle.”

One thought on “Arrow and Yield sign puzzle drivers at Tremont interchange

  1. I often use the northbound exit off Hwy 16 to Tremont. The problem I see is not with signage but with those using the right turn lane on west bound Tremont. When you are turning left from the northbound Hwy 16 off ramp onto Tremont it is difficult to be sure those in that right turn lane are actually in that lane and not continuing through on westbound Tremont. If the drivers would signal for a right turn you would know that they are for sure in that lane. This is not just true at this intersection but just about anywhere. I find myself doing the same thing with an attitude that why should I use my turn signal, it’s obvious by the lane I am in what I am going to do. Don’t assume everyone can know what lane you are in. Using your turn signal when you are in a designated lane is not only courteous but promotes safety.
    Bill Howell

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