On Saturday, April 21, 2012, we drove the abbreviated length of Washington State Route 171 through Moses Lake... Not through the actual lake, mind you, but the city! Note on the map above that the purple dotted line is the section that has yet to be built.
State route No. 171:
A state highway to be known as state route number 171 is established as follows:
Beginning at a junction with state route number 90 west of Moses Lake, thence northeasterly by way of Moses Lake to a junction with state route number 28 in the vicinity west of Odessa. Until such time as state route number 171 is actually constructed on the location adopted by the department, no existing county roads may be maintained or improved by the department as a temporary route of state route number 171.
So here we are, on the overpass above I-90, starting our drive of Highway 171, such as it is. Just so you know, this part of the city is on a peninsula in the middle of the lake, between Parker Horn and Pelican Horn.
We head northeast on what was once US 10. I find it odd that the state decided to bridge the western half of the lake many years before they bridged the eastern half of the lake. I guess they had their reasons. They probably also had good reasons for not simply going around the lake.
A mile after the halfway point, you need to take a left turn to stay on SR 171. If you continue straight, you'll be following the old US 10 (now signed as Business I-90) which curves back south. Approaching this point, I didn't see any signs indicating the left turn needed, but I saw a double left-turn at the next light, so I got in a left turn lane. It turns out that was not the way to stay on SR 171, but for the Stratford Road bridge across the Parker Horn to the north side of town. I got back in the right lane and continued forward a block where there was a single left-turn lane to stay on SR 171. The last mile of the highway, to the junction with SR 17, is certainly not a main road in town. Perhaps once they finish SR 171 all the way to Odessa...
A drive down old US Route 10 through Moses Lake feels a lot like driving down any other old US route through any other city. Odd, that.