Yield sign coming to Bangor area Highway 3 merge

The in basket: Don Erickson of Seabeck wrote in July to say “Everyday when I leave Keyport,  I travel west on Luoto Road to Highway 3 and

turn left to the southbound on-ramp of the highway. Shortly after

entering the on-ramp, there are two lanes of traffic from Bangor merging

from the right. 

“Since I’m going straight ahead and the traffic is coming

from the right, I say I have the right of way. But everyday its a fight

to keep from getting bumped from the Bangor traffic flying around the

curve and trying to merge into my lane and further left onto the


“Who has the right of way and can there be any enforcement of a

speed limit on the Bangor traffic coming around the curve heading south?”

The out basket: State Trooper Krista Hedstrom, spokeswoman for the local detachments, says Don is incorrect in his belief that he has the right of way there. 

The Merge sign depicts the two lanes from Bangor with a thicker line than it does the single lane Don uses, and the greater thickness of the line confers right of way.

She notes that despite the sign’s placement on the shoulder of the double right turn access, it’s still visible by the single lane. “I do agree, though, that it would not hurt to have another sign placed in a location more visible,” she added.

I had not heard Krista’s interpretation of varying thickness of lines on a Merge sign before, so I asked Olympic Region Traffic Operations Engineer Steve Bennett if the traffic engineer’s bible, the Manual on Uniform Traffic  Control Devices supports it. 

Not in so many words, he replied, but it can be inferred from the words that ARE used. But just “to clear things up, we will be installing a Yield sign so that the single-lane ramp yields to the double-lane ramp,” he said.

As for speed enforcement there, they will definitely attend to that, says Krista, but the freeway’s 60 mph is the speed limit on its on-ramps so a driver would really have to be hitting it to exceed the limit there.

2 thoughts on “Yield sign coming to Bangor area Highway 3 merge

  1. A thicker line on a merge sign? Have these people ever driven an automobile? On a road? With signs?

    A good driver will enter a limited access highway (Hwy 3, for example) at or near traffic speed. In this case, that is 60 mph. While accelerating, he must look to the left, at the traffic stream he plans to enter, and adjust his speed and position in order to make a smooth entry.

    Now he must also make a judgement, in his scan of the road,, the traffic, his gauges, and the signage, as to the thickness of a line on a sign?

    Entry lanes merging into entry lanes are poor designs, but may be necessary. But, once one is established on a roadway, be it entry lane, or highway, traffic coming from the right, entering that lane, is still entering traffic, and, per anything reasonable, must yield to traffic already on that roadway.

    In the case mentioned, if the new merge sign means that the writer must yield to traffic intering from his right, then he is caught between two traffic streams, to which both he must yield.

    This could be construed to mean that highway, or freeway traffic must yield to traffic entering the highway, since it comes from the right.

  2. I would like to thank the Department of Transportation for the installation of the yield sign at the Luoto Southbound Entrance ramp to Highway 3 where it merges with Bangor’s Bases entrance ramp. Even though the yield sign has been in place a few weeks, drivers continue to enter the roadway with no regard to the traffic that has the legal right away. I have had to take evasive action several times to avoid hitting cars that continued through the yield sign without even slowing down. Last Friday, November 27, 2009, I was cut off by a yellow County Storm Water Utility Van who ignored the yield sign ( saw the exempt license plate and door decal ). I had to hit the brakes to avoid hitting them; they must of had something on their mind as they traveled south on Highway 3 with their yellow lights flashing away. My questions are these…Can orange warning flags be placed on the top of the yield sign to let people know its there? Can law enforcement monitor this area as an emphasis zone to get people aware of the yield sign, especially during 3 to 4 pm weekdays when traffic is heavy from people leaving Bangor Base?

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