State has shut down commuter maneuver at Loxie Eagans interchange

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.




8 thoughts on “State has shut down commuter maneuver at Loxie Eagans interchange

  1. I am curious as to the appropriate merging procedure here. Should you move into the left as soon as possible and leave the right for those exiting, or do both lanes continue to move with a weave pattern where the two lanes become one?
    It seems to me that the second makes the most sense, but I have heard many argue that moving over as early as possible is correct. I could not find anything in The Washington State DMV manual about this. Anyone know?

  2. Sorry, but if you put a jersey barrier there then cars wouldn’t be able to turn left onto the ramp to SB Hwy 3 from WB Loxie Eagans. I wish they could put one there, though. I drive this route every weekday at 4:00 pm, and I dot cheat. And the guy that said “it’s a secret”…It’s no secret, it’s just that most people choose not to be a jerk.

  3. No surprise this would be a problem, but the problem could have been fixed decades ago when they built the highway. As I recall, they wanted to fill in some of the shoreline and make the highway usable. They took out the old Humane society site, the stop lights and then…built the Sewer Treatment Plant, which cost the taxpayers big bucks along with the lawsuits and the big bucks the taxpayers paid for that, and now….
    Well, we have three lanes merging into one lane, causing massive backups. But at least the little bugs and the little sealife on the mudflats are safe!
    There, feel better now? It was all for ecology and the little Marine Life! Screw the commuters! Who do they think they are, anyway? Do they think they are paying for this and OWN the roadway?

    Oops….Actually, they do….
    Next time, be careful how and who you vote for. You might just get what you voted for, and it might just surprise you.

  4. I just can’t find any reason to live in Kidnap County anymore. They do everything they can to discourage business, refuse to fix one of the most known traffic problems in the state, and then force you to pay a ransom to get out of the county. This place is going to be dead when the military pull out of it after realizing their bases are a strategic death trap for exiting the sound.

  5. People should use both lanes until the merge and then alternate cars from each lane at the final moment. That would make traffic move most efficiently and wouldn’t give preference to those getting on from the auto center onramp. Unfortunately the warning signs about the merge imply that everyone should get over in the left lane early.

    As for the “secret” maneuver. I can’t understand why this is allowed at any freeway exchange. Cars coming off the freeway should always turn left or right. Occasionally someone who is lost might accidentally exit and need to proceed straight, or there is a bus stop on the on-ramp, but it is going to be rare.

  6. You are correct, fletc3her. That road is designed for what is called a “zipper” merge. Just be polite and take turns merging at the sewage treatment plant.

    Moving to the left at the Loxie Egans overpass is not the ideal way to merge traffic on that stretch of road.

  7. The signs are not working and neither is enforcement. I saw a line of vehicles doing the scoot across yesterday at 4:00pm.

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