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State Route 24 (SR 24) is a state highway in the south-central region of Washington, in the United States. It travels 79 miles (127 km) from Yakima to Othello, across a portion of the Columbia Plateau. The highway crosses the Columbia River on the Vernita Bridge, located near the Hanford Site. SR 24 terminates to the west at an interchange with Interstate 82 (I-82) in Yakima and to the east at SR 26 in Othello.

State Route 24 marker

State Route 24
Map of the Mid-Columbia region with SR 24 highlighted in red
Route information
Defined by RCW 47.17.100
Maintained by WSDOT
Length79.23 mi[2] (127.51 km)
Existed1964[1]–present
Major junctions
West end I-82 / US 12 / US 97 in Yakima
 
East end SR 26 in Othello
Location
CountiesYakima, Benton, Grant, Adams
Highway system
SR 23SR 25

The highway was added to the state highway system in 1937 as Secondary State Highway 11A (SSH 11A), composed of several county-built gravel roads from Yakima to Connell, with a ferry crossing at Hanford. The Hanford section of SSH 11A was closed in 1943 due to wartime activities at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, forcing the state government to relocate the highway to the north side of the Columbia River. The new highway opened in 1961 and was supplanted by the new Vernita toll bridge in 1965. During the 1964 state highway renumbering, SR 24 replaced most of SSH 11A and was rerouted to a terminus in Othello.

Route descriptionEdit

SR 24 begins in eastern Yakima as an extension of Nob Hill Boulevard at a diamond interchange with I-82 and the concurrent US 12 and US 97. The interchange is located southeast of the Central Washington State Fairgrounds and the SunDome arena. SR 24 travels southeasterly from the interchange as a four-lane divided highway and crosses the Yakima River into unincorporated Yakima County near Yakima Sportsman State Park. The highway narrows to two lanes and continues southeast along the Central Washington Railroad, a branch of the BNSF Railway,[3][4] changing course to bypass the city of Moxee on its south side. SR 24 continues beyond the railroad's terminus and runs deeper into the Moxee Valley, an irrigated area situated between the Yakima Ridge and Yakima Training Center to the north and the Rattlesnake Hills to the south.[5][6]

 
Looking westbound on SR 24 at its junction with SR 241 at the YakimaBenton county line

At the east end of the valley, SR 24 turns northeast and crosses through a narrow pass in the hills before reaching the Black Rock Valley, which it continues across. Midway through the valley at the Silver Dollar Cafe, the highway intersects SR 241, an auxiliary route that travels south towards Sunnyside.[7] SR 24 continues northeast from the junction and enters Benton County, where it climbs a section of the Yakima Ridge and exits the valley. The highway crosses part of the Fitzner–Eberhardt Arid Lands Ecology Reserve, a restricted wildlife preserve that forms part of the Hanford Reach National Monument.[8] SR 24 meets SR 240, a major highway connecting to the Tri-Cities, at the northeast corner of the reserve.[9] SR 24 turns north at the junction and travels along the northwest edge of the Hanford Site, flanked by fences on both sides of the road.[8] The highway descends from the plateau by turning west and returning to its northerly course, eventually reaching a rest area on the south shore of the Columbia River.[5][10]

SR 24 crosses the Columbia River on the Vernita Bridge, a 1,982-foot-long (604 m) steel truss bridge downriver from the Priest Rapids Dam.[11][12] On the north side of the bridge in Grant County, the highway intersects SR 243, which travels along the Columbia River towards Mattawa and Vantage.[9] SR 23 turns northeast and follows the south wall of the Wahluke Slope before traveling due east across the Saddle Mountain National Wildlife Refuge and into Adams County.[8] The highway leaves the Hanford Reach National Monument and forms the boundary between Adams and Franklin counties for several miles, briefly turning to cross a section of the Saddle Mountains. Near the former Othello Air Force Station, SR 24 turns north and follows Radar Road through farmland on the outskirts of Othello.[13] After entering Othello, the highway becomes Broadway Avenue and continues through an industrial area before terminating at an underpass with SR 26. The two highways are connected via an extension of 1st Avenue on both sides of the underpass.[5][14]

SR 24 is maintained by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), which conducts an annual survey on the state's highways to measure traffic volume in terms of average annual daily traffic. The busiest section of the highway, at its interchange with I-82, carried a daily average of 23,000 vehicles in 2016; the least busiest section of the highway, northeast of the Vernita Bridge, carried only 1,100 vehicles.[15] A short section between I-82 and Faucher Road in Moxee is designated as a MAP-21 arterial under the National Highway System, a network of roads identified as important to the national economy, defense, and mobility.[16][17]

HistoryEdit

SR 24 was added to Washington's state highway system in 1937 as Secondary State Highway 11A (SSH 11A), which traveled from Primary State Highway 3 (PSH 3) and US 410 in Yakima to PSH 11 and US 395 in Connell.[18] The highway was preceded by several unpaved roads built by county governments along the corridor by the 1910s,[19] including a road across the Moxee and Black Rock valleys,[20] a ferry across the Columbia River at White Bluffs, and a road continuing to Connell, bypassing Othello.[21][22]

The state government did not improve the gravel county roads that encompassed SSH 11A,[23] but did relocate its toll-free ferry from White Bluffs to Hanford in May 1938.[24] The Hanford ferry was initially planned to use a cable-operated system, but costs forced it to be downgraded to a tug-and-barge ferry.[25] During World War II, the U.S. military selected the Hanford area as the site of a major weapons development facility and a section of SSH 11A was acquired via a request of the Secretary of War filed on July 21, 1943.[23] The 28-mile (45 km) section, located between Cold Creek and Hanford, was closed permanently to non-military traffic on November 15, 1943, and divided SSH 11A into two disconnected highways.[26] The rest of the highway had been paved by the state government in the early 1940s, with the exception of a section west of Connell that remained gravel.[27]

SSH 11A was relocated in 1953 to a crossing of the Columbia River north of Cold Creek at Vernita and would continue along a new highway along the Columbia River to the east end of the former Hanford ferry.[28] The state government had initially expected the highway to re-open after the war, but continued use of Hanford for weapons and energy development prompted them to file a lawsuit against the federal government to seek reimbursement to fund construction of the new highway around the site.[29] The U.S. District Court's decision to award only $1 in nominal damages in 1952 was upheld by a decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals two years later, citing the state's delay in identifying a suitable alternate route.[23][30] In response, Representative Donald H. Magnuson introduced a Congressional bill to reimburse $581,721 to the state (equivalent to $4.06 million in 2018 dollars),[31] but it was vetoed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in September 1957.[32][33]

 
The Vernita Bridge, built in 1965 to carry the newly-relocated SR 24

From January 1954 to December 1955, Army Corps of Engineers constructed a dirt road on the north side of the Columbia River between Vernita and White Bluffs, passing through a less-restricted portion of the Hanford Site. The road was built as part of an agreement between the state and federal governments that was negotiated during the lawsuit, as an alternative to re-opening SSH 11A across the Hanford restricted zone.[29] A private toll ferry connecting SSH 11A at Vernita to SSH 7C on the north side of the river began operating in November 1957 and was taken over by the state in May 1961.[34][35] The state government completed construction of the paved 8.3-mile (13.4 km) highway along the Wahluke Slope on May 19, 1961,[24] extending SSH 11A to a junction with SSH 11G south of Othello.[29] As part of the agreement with the federal Atomic Energy Commission, the highway was ringed by fences and signs prohibiting parking and loitering, as well as controlled traffic signals that would allow for a large-scale evacuation of the Hanford area.[29][36] The west end of SSH 11A was truncated to the newly-opened Yakima bypass (part of I-82) in November 1963.[37]

The Vernita Bridge began construction in October 1964 and was opened to traffic on October 1, 1965, replacing the state-run ferry.[38][39] The bridge was funded using $3 million in bonds (equivalent to $18.6 million in 2018 dollars)[31] that were paid off using a toll of 75 cents to $2.50 collected until 1977.[40][41][42] During the 1964 state highway renumbering, SSH 11A was divided between three new state highways under the sign route system: State Route 24 (SR 24) from Yakima to the junction with SSH 11G (now SR 17), SR 170 from Ringold on the Columbia River to Mesa, and SR 260 between Mesa and Connell.[43][44][45] The Ringold section of SR 170 was later transferred to Franklin County in 1967, per a clause in a 1963 highway bill that was triggered by the completion of SR 240.[46][47] SR 24 was formally codified in 1970, with its eastern terminus changed to a junction with SR 26 south of downtown Othello.[48] The Othello link was built by the end of the decade, effectively completing all of SR 24.[49]

Congestion on a two-mile (3.2 km) section of SR 24 between I-82 and the east side of the Yakima River had worsened by the late 1990s and prompted the state government to consider a $35 million replacement and expansion project.[50] The project was combined with a floodplain restoration plan proposed by the county government in response to a major flood in 1996 and originally considered building a second bridge upriver and realigning the highway.[51] A revised plan placing the higher replacement bridge next to the existing crossing, saving costs and environmental mitigation for 7 acres (2.8 ha) of wetlands, was adopted in 2002 and funded by the legislature's 2003 Nickel Program gas tax.[52][53] Construction on the new bridge and the widened four-lane highway began in May 2005 and was dedicated on June 28, 2007, costing a total of $54.5 million.[54][55] In 2008, the state government also built a series of passing lanes along SR 24 between Silver Dollar and Cold Creek in response to increased truck traffic.[56][57]

Major intersectionsEdit

CountyLocationmi[2]kmDestinationsNotes
YakimaYakima0.000.00    I-82 / US 12 / US 97 – Richland, EllensburgInterchange
30.4048.92  SR 241 south – Sunnyside
Benton38.4361.85  SR 240 east – Richland
Columbia River43.32–
43.70
69.72–
70.33
Vernita Bridge
Grant43.8570.57  SR 243 north – Vantage
AdamsOthello79.23127.51  SR 26 (via South 1st Avenue) – Vantage, Moses Lake, Ephrata
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "47.17.100: State route No. 24". Revised Code of Washington. Washington State Legislature. 1970. Retrieved January 14, 2013.
  2. ^ a b Multimodal Planning Division (January 3, 2018). State Highway Log Planning Report 2017, SR 2 to SR 971 (PDF) (Report). Washington State Department of Transportation. pp. 519–529. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  3. ^ 2015 Washington State Rail System by Owner (PDF) (Map). Washington State Department of Transportation. January 2016. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  4. ^ "BNSF Railway Company Class I Railroad Annual Report" (PDF). BNSF Railway. January 2014. p. 32. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  5. ^ a b c Google (August 14, 2018). "State Route 24" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  6. ^ "Corridor Sketch Summary – SR 24: I-82 Jct (Yakima) to SR 243 Jct" (PDF). Washington State Department of Transportation. April 23, 2018. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  7. ^ Hoang, Mai (July 30, 2010). "Moxee cafe back in business". Tri-City Herald. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  8. ^ a b c General Map of the Hanford Reach National Monument (PDF) (Map). United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  9. ^ a b Washington State Department of Transportation (2014). Washington State Highways, 2014–2015 (PDF) (Map). Olympia: Washington State Department of Transportation. Retrieved August 15, 2018.
  10. ^ "Safety rest area locations". Washington State Department of Transportation. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  11. ^ Bridge and Structures Office (November 2017). "Bridge List (M 23-09.08)" (PDF). Washington State Department of Transportation. p. 169. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  12. ^ Cary, Annette (July 3, 2017). "Columbia River closed to boaters near Vernita Bridge for firefighting". Tri-City Herald. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  13. ^ "Corridor Sketch Summary – SR 24: SR 243 Jct to SR 26 Jct (Othello)" (PDF). Washington State Department of Transportation. April 5, 2018. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  14. ^ "SR 24 – Junction: SR 26" (PDF). Washington State Department of Transportation. August 21, 2017. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  15. ^ 2016 Annual Traffic Report (PDF) (Report). Washington State Department of Transportation. 2017. p. 107. Retrieved August 15, 2018.
  16. ^ "2016 State Highway National Highway System Routes in Washington" (PDF). Washington State Department of Transportation. Retrieved August 15, 2018.
  17. ^ "What is the National Highway System?". Federal Highway Administration. January 31, 2017. Retrieved August 15, 2018.
  18. ^ "Chapter 207: Classification of Public Highways" (PDF). Session Laws of the State of Washington, 1937. Washington State Legislature. March 18, 1937. pp. 1007–1008. Retrieved August 17, 2018.
  19. ^ "Auto Trails Map of Washington, Oregon, Nor. California, Western Idaho" (Map). Rand McNally's Commercial Atlas of America. 1:1,518,000. Rand McNally. 1924. p. 490. OCLC 53626466. Retrieved August 16, 2018 – via David Rumsey Historical Map Collection.
  20. ^ Priest Rapids Quadrangle, Washington (Map). 1:62,500. United States Geological Survey. 1917. Retrieved August 17, 2018 – via Perry–Castañeda Library Map Collection.
  21. ^ Othello Quadrangle, Washington (Map). 1:62,500. United States Geological Survey. 1924. Retrieved August 17, 2018 – via Perry–Castañeda Library Map Collection.
  22. ^ Rand McNally (1939). Highways of the State of Washington (Map). Washington State Department of Highways. Retrieved August 17, 2018 – via Washington State Library.
  23. ^ a b c State of Washington v. United States, 214 F.2d 33 (9th Circuit: June 1, 1954).
  24. ^ a b "Highway 11-A opens to Othello". Washington Highway News. 9 (7). Washington State Department of Highways. August 1961. p. 2. OCLC 29654162. Retrieved August 17, 2018 – via Washington State Department of Transportation Library Digital Collections.
  25. ^ Smith, Hal G. (August 1958). "Columbia River Ferry at Hanford Had Interesting History". Washington Highway News. 8 (1). Washington State Department of Highways. p. 11. OCLC 29654162. Retrieved September 12, 2018 – via WSDOT Library Digital Collections.
  26. ^ "Moxee-to-Hanford Road to Be Closed". The Seattle Times. Associated Press. November 11, 1943. p. 21.
  27. ^ Rand McNally (1944). Highways of the State of Washington (Map). Washington State Department of Highways. OCLC 5673231. Retrieved August 17, 2018 – via David Rumsey Historical Map Collection.
  28. ^ "Chapter 59: Secondary State Highway No. 11A" (PDF). Session Laws of the State of Washington, 1953. Washington State Legislature. March 3, 1953. pp. 86–87. Retrieved August 17, 2018.
  29. ^ a b c d "New Highway For Central Washington". Washington Highway News. 9 (6). Washington State Department of Highways. June 1961. pp. 9–12. OCLC 29654162. Retrieved August 17, 2018 – via Washington State Department of Transportation Library Digital Collections.
  30. ^ "Alternate Highway Route In Hanford Area Feasible". Walla Walla Union-Bulletin. Associated Press. September 23, 1955. p. 1.
  31. ^ a b Thomas, Ryland; Williamson, Samuel H. (2019). "What Was the U.S. GDP Then?". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved April 6, 2019. United States Gross Domestic Product deflator figures follow the Measuring Worth series.
  32. ^ "House Passes Bill For Payment To State". Port Angeles Evening News. Associated Press. March 6, 1956. p. 1. Retrieved August 17, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.  
  33. ^ "President Vetoes Payment For Road". Port Angeles Evening News. Associated Press. September 3, 1957. p. 10. Retrieved August 17, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.  
  34. ^ "New Ferry on Columbia Begins Soon". The Seattle Times. Associated Press. November 19, 1957. p. 32.
  35. ^ "Free Ferry Service Set Near Vernita". Walla Walla Union-Bulletin. Associated Press. April 12, 1961. p. 3.
  36. ^ Tegner, Bob (March 30, 1961). "New Hanford Route Will Open in June". The Seattle Times. p. 6.
  37. ^ "Yakima Freeway Official Opening: November 12, 1963". Washington State Highway Commission. November 1963. Retrieved August 17, 2018 – via Washington State Department of Transportation Library Digital Collections.
  38. ^ "Vernita Bridge Project Started". The Spokesman-Review. October 8, 1964. p. 10. Retrieved January 14, 2013 – via Google News Archive.
  39. ^ Morgan, Brian (October 2, 1965). "New Span's Regional Use Underlined at Vernita Rides". The Spokesman-Review. p. 6. Retrieved August 17, 2018 – via Google News Archive.
  40. ^ "Columbia River Bridge Opened". The Seattle Times. Associated Press. October 1, 1965. p. 20.
  41. ^ "Transport Boost Is Expected on New Bridge at Vernita". The Spokesman-Review. September 26, 1965. p. 22. Retrieved January 14, 2013 – via Google News Archive.
  42. ^ Waugh, Kathleen (April 2004). "Guide to the Records of the Washington Toll Bridge Authority, 1937–1977" (PDF). Washington Secretary of State. p. 7. Retrieved August 17, 2018.
  43. ^ Prahl, C. G. (December 1, 1965). "Identification of State Highways" (PDF). Washington State Highway Commission. Retrieved August 17, 2018.
  44. ^ Hauptli, Jack (February 23, 1964). "Highway Department Plays The Numbers Game!". The Seattle Times. pp. 10–11.
  45. ^ Walla Walla, Washington; Oregon (Map). 1:250,000. United States Geological Survey. 1953 [revised 1963]. Retrieved August 17, 2018 – via Perry–Castañeda Library Map Collection.
  46. ^ "Chapter 197: Vernita Toll Bridge and Approaches" (PDF). Session Laws of the State of Washington, 1963. Washington State Legislature. March 26, 1963. p. 964. Retrieved August 17, 2018.
  47. ^ "Chapter 145: Highways" (PDF). Session Laws of the State of Washington, 1967 extraordinary session. Washington State Legislature. May 11, 1967. p. 2306. Retrieved August 17, 2018.
  48. ^ "Chapter 51: State Highways—Route Numbers" (PDF). Session Laws of the State of Washington, 1970 1st extraordinary session. Washington State Legislature. February 24, 1970. p. 353. Retrieved August 17, 2018.
  49. ^ Priest Rapids, Washington (Map). 1:100,000. United States Geological Survey. 1979. Retrieved August 17, 2018.
  50. ^ Lester, David (November 4, 2001). "State suggests SR-24 bridge at estimated $35 million". Yakima Herald-Republic. p. C1. Archived from the original on August 18, 2018. Retrieved August 17, 2018 – via HighBeam. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  51. ^ Lester, David (August 25, 2002). "Considering a Change—Loosening the River". Yakima Herald-Republic. p. C1. Archived from the original on August 18, 2018. Retrieved August 17, 2018 – via HighBeam. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  52. ^ Lester, David (December 17, 2002). "State reworks plans for new Yakima River Bridge". Yakima Herald-Republic. p. B1. Archived from the original on August 18, 2018. Retrieved August 17, 2018 – via HighBeam. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  53. ^ Ammons, David (May 20, 2003). "5 cents more at gas pump". Yakima Hearld-Republic. Associated Press. Archived from the original on August 18, 2018. Retrieved August 17, 2018 – via HighBeam. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  54. ^ "SR 24 – I-82 to Keys Road – Additional Lanes" (PDF). Washington State Department of Transportation. June 28, 2007. Retrieved August 10, 2018.
  55. ^ "SR 24 bridge project set for today's dedication". Yakima Herald-Republic. June 28, 2007. p. A1.
  56. ^ Courtney, Ross A. (September 18, 2008). "SR 24 drivers find relief". Yakima Herald-Republic. Archived from the original on August 18, 2018. Retrieved August 17, 2018 – via HighBeam. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  57. ^ "SR 24 – SR 241 to Cold Creek Road: Add Passing Lanes (Folio)" (PDF). Washington State Department of Transportation. September 2008. Retrieved August 17, 2018.

External linksEdit