I-5 traffic camera could be more helpful

The in basket: I find radio and TV traffic reports to be more befuddling than helpful, mostly because I rarely know enough about where they’re talking about.

When I tried extra hard recently to divine the meaning of a couple of TV traffic reports about something going on along I-5, they were showing emergency lights (on one occasion) and snow (on the other) “on I-5 at the Pierce County line.” The image was from a state Department of Transportation camera, and the legend didn’t say whether it was Pierce County’s border with King or Thurston county. I recognized the landscape as being at the King County line one time, but the other was at night and I couldn’t tell where it was.

I asked if there is a technical reason they didn’t make clear which Pierce County line they mean.

The out basket: No technical reason, says Claudia Bingham Baker of the Olympic Region of state highways. It’s just that there is no freeway traffic camera at the Thurston County line, only the one just past Fife at the King County line.

“The closest camera to the south of that (Thurston) line is labeled Nisqually, and to north it’s labeled Mounts Road,” she said.

“We will be installing more cameras this summer and next, so we may need to look at more clearly delineating county lines at that point,” she added.

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