Sunday, June 8, 2008

Washington State Route 9

On Sunday, June 8, 2008, we drove the length of Washington State Highway 9, almost a hundred miles long, from the Seattle area north to the Canadian border. This is the road to take if you want to get out of the country, but not as fast as I-5 would take you.

RCW 47.17.040
State route No. 9
A state highway to be known as state route number 9 is established as follows:

Beginning at a junction with state route number 522 north of Woodinville, thence northerly by way of Snohomish, Arlington and Sedro Woolley to a junction with state route number 542, in the vicinity of Deming; also

Beginning at a junction with state route number 542, in the vicinity of Lawrence, thence northerly to the international boundary at Sumas.

SR 9 @ SR 522
SR 9 starts at a junction with SR 522 (as the quoted text above says). It's right near a Costco.

SR 9 @ SR 524
A couple miles later, we arrive at the junction with SR 524. This junction has a unique structure for the traffic lights: a giant steel tube (rather like the power poles to the right) stretches diagonally across the intersection. All the lights and signs simply attach to that. Simple yet big. I wonder whose idea it was. . .

SR 9 @ SR 96
Heading down into the Snohomish River valley, we encounter SR 96, one of only two "secondary" routes associated with Highway 9. The other is coming up soon.

SR 9 @ US 2
Quickly out of the valley on the north side (Highway 9 has a tendency to head due north for long stretches of time), we arrive at the junction with US 2.

SR 9 @ SR 204
Here we are at Lake Stevens, at the junction with SR 204. You head through this junction on your way to and from the great hiking up the Mountain Loop Highway.

SR 9 @ SR 92
Shortly thereafter, the junction with SR 92. This is the other "secondary" route for Highway 9 and also is the highway to take to get to the Mountain Loop Highway. SR 92 and the Mountain Loop Highway are non-coincidental, by the way.

SR 9 @ SR 528
Out on the Snohomish plateau, SR 528 will take you back to I-5. Head west, young man. Or not.

SR 9 @ SR 531
Almost to Arlington, the junction with SR 531.

SR 9 @ SR 530 westward
SR 9 is odd for a two-lane highway, in that it goes around cities like Snohomish and Arlington, instead of heading straight through them. This junction with SR 530 is right at the edge of town, but you'd never know it.

SR 9 @ SR 530 eastward
A short while later, the junction with SR 530 for travel eastward. Once again, we're right beside downtown Arlington. It's just to the right. Somewhere.

SR 9 @ SR 534
Just after the tiny town of McMurray, we come across the junction with SR 534. Yeah, it's kinda hard to find, but I think we'll be going back one of these days.

SR 9 @ SR 538
Past Big Lake, Highway 9 dips down toward the Skagit River. Almost there, we come across a roundabout in the middle of the woods. This would be the junction with SR 538.

SR 9 @ SR 20 westward
At the west end of Sedro Woolley (originally named Bug), SR 9 joins SR 20. For the next mile, the two highways share the same pavement.

SR 9 @ SR 20 eastward
At the east end of Sedro Woolley, SR 9 leaves SR 20. Which do you want: north or east? Canada or the North Cascades?

SR 9 @ SR 542 eastward
A half hour northward, SR 9 comes to an end at SR 542. "But wait," you say. "Doesn't Highway 9 go to Canada?" Why yes, it does. But there's a gap.

SR 9 @ SR 542 westward
A few miles west on SR 542, Highway 9 resumes. This is the view from the south side of Highway 542, looking north up 9.

SR 9 @ SR 544
After a stop sign and left turn, SR 9 crosses the railroad tracks and hangs a right, between the gas stations. If you accidentally go straight, you're on SR 544. Welcome to Nooksack.

SR 9 @ SR 546
We're getting up near the border now. If you take a right at the school here, you're still on SR 9. If you turn left, you're on SR 546.

SR 9 @ SR 547
And here's Sumas, the border town. SR 547 is the next left.

SR 9 @ Canada
Welcome to Canada! Or not. We managed to turn back south after crossing the border, but before getting to Canadian customs. . . . The American guards were a bit suspicious, though.

There you go, Washington State Highway 9. Farms, hills, and lots of straight stretches.


Pedicularis said...

FYI, you have a family connection to Sedro Woolley. Your great-grandmother, Mary Ann, moved from Seamer, England to Sedro Woolley in about 1906, to join her parents who had made the move several years earlier. She traveled by train, ship, and train from England by herself, even though she was only about 17 at the time.

David J. Corcoran said...

I don't know whether you've considered it or not but while legislatively the routes end at their written junctions, for all intents and purposes they continue through those to their termini (with a few exceptions). For instance, while SR 9 and SR 542 may not legally coincide they officially do. WSDOT considers SR 9 to continue along SR 542 for all intents and purposes (including with regards to mileposts)

So legally, yes, the route terminates at SR 542 and then resumes again, but practically and officially it continues through (and I believe it is signposted as SR 9/SR 542 there, or at least it is the other direction)

Sotosoroto said...

Even if the DOT decides to sign SR 9 and SR 542 together (or I-90 and US 2 together in Spokane), I'm sticking to the legal code.

If I'm being pedantic about order and direction, I can be pedantic about other things, can't I?

David J. Corcoran said...

yep. It's just a matter of opinion. Good luck though, this is a huge undertaking especially in numerical order