The in basket: A few readers have suggested in the past that the state prohibit a maneuver one can see any weekday at the Loxie Eagans interchange on Highway 3 in Bremerton. Drivers in a hurry exit on that interchange’s off-ramp, scoot across Loxie Eagans Boulevard and re-enter traffic via the on-ramp, presumably skipping ahead of some of those backed up during rush hour who stayed in line.
Another reader said last year he’d seen that very prohibition at an interchange on another freeway on the other side of the Sound.
The state has declined to do it in the past. But not any more.
The out basket: Thursday, I learned from State Trooper Russ Winger of the Bremerton detachment that the state changed its mind late last year and put up signs saying only left and right turns are permitted at the head of that off-ramp. It also scrubbed off an arrow on the pavement that indicated that a straight-ahead movement could be made there.
It came as a surprise to me, as it’s been a long time since I’ve used that off-ramp. I asked Steve Bennett, operations engineer for state highways here, what changed their minds and he said, “We imposed the restriction after conversations with troopers in the area who thought it would help traffic flow and be something they could enforce.”
Russ Winger said, “This appears to be a regular maneuver for some commuters. I personally stopped a vehicle for the action just after the new signage went into effect. The driver did not deny doing it to cheat ahead in the backup. In fact, he said ‘So you guys are taking away our little secret .’ Russ gave him a warning.
“We have been getting some complaints about motorists ignoring the road signage and lane restriction,” he said Thursday, and one of the detachment sergeants told him an emphasis patrol to underscore the change would be a good idea.
“The intent of the emphasis in the area will be to highlight the problem and attempt to gain better compliance,” Russ said. “Our troopers will likely be issuing citations rather than warning drivers. We believe sufficient warning time has elapsed since the signage was changed.” The date of the emphasis hasn’t been set.
“Loxie Eagans is a very busy and congested roadway during late afternoon rush hour,” he said. “Visibility is limited due to vehicles making right and left turns onto Loxie Eagans, as well as heavy east- and west-bound traffic. This makes crossing there both illegal and dangerous for all motorists.”
It also creates driver animosity among those who stay on the freeway and believe those making the maneuver are taking unfair advantage, he said.