Letters to the Editor

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SR 16: Sprague exit appallingly unsafe

Letter by Mary K. Rudisill, Tacoma on July 14, 2011 at 3:16 pm with 8 Comments »
July 15, 2011 9:15 am

I have read many opinions and comments in The News Tribune about the recent changes to state Route 16 and, of course, the dreaded Sprague Avenue exit. So I decided to check out the exit for myself as I was curious about all the fuss and wanted to see why people couldn’t simply follow the posted rules and navigate a section of roadway.

I had seen pictures of the skid marks on the pavement, knew the suggested speed limit of 15 mph, and was aware that I would go up a ramp and into a 90-degree left turn. It was also broad daylight and the roads were dry, so I had everything in my favor.

I took the exit, followed all the rules and, lo and behold, I successfully accomplished the task. No problem right?

Wrong! Frankly, after seeing it firsthand I am appalled and amazed that anyone could think that exit would be safe in even the slightest adverse conditions. There is nothing intuitive in most people’s driving experience that would help them navigate through the experience.

It feels a lot like driving in a parking garage, but in a parking garage you have the advantage of expecting that kind of thing. I cannot image being unfamiliar with the road, driving though it in slippery conditions or stumbling upon it for the first time in the dark.

I hope the naysayers are wrong and nobody dies there before the next phase, but I am not placing any bets.

Leave a comment Comments → 8
  1. I live in Lakewood, but frequently need to go to Gig Harbor. I have been boycotting Highway 16 during all the construction mayhem, and will continue to do so. I get on at Jackson, and go over the bridge. I refuse to take 16 to to I-5. If I am in Gig Harbor and need to go to Seattle, I will take surface streets until I can safely get on I-5 without using Highway 16.

    In my opinion, the new changes have just increased the death toll on that highway. You won’t get me to drive it.

  2. I use hwy 16- only when I have to. Sad part is, the more lanes that are added to help traffic flow, the more stupidly people drive! Is it REALLY that important to go to Target that you have to sweep from the left lane- across four lanes of traffic- to exit?! You’ll NEVER see me using the “Sprague Death Drop Exit”

  3. gonefishin69690 says:

    Frida, the proper name is “Evil Knievel Memorial Parkway”. And YES. I hate that 4 lane merge to get off at Union. If your coming off NB 5 , to WB 16, and need to get off at Union, good luck. Did it on my motorcycle a couple days ago. Not much fun being in the middle of a “Blinkerfest” on a bike.

  4. It seems every mistake from misalligning the roads in the first place to SUPER BAD design have been succesfully accomplished with this project. Another F- for the DOT on this one. Bang up job….pun intended (future bangs cars will do)

  5. cylhentz says:

    None of you has apparently read the response from the DOT about the ramp. It is going to be an intersection with a light. Where you turn left, you’ll also have the option to go straight, once the other portion of the new viaduct is completed. Research–>Observe–>Educated Opinion–>Informed Comment/Editorial.
    –End of line.–

  6. Omega6234 says:

    1. you are a woman driver… not suprising at all.
    2. I have driven it time and time again. Follow the rules and everything works out.
    3. I cant believe people are still posting complaints.. its not done yet.
    I drive this daily.. my only gripe is that the speed limit is too slow… 45?? Make it 55. I think the only adverse condition out there is the driver being unaware!!

  7. I wont drive my personal vehicle on 16 either…never really have a need to, and surface streets work just fine for me. I go there with my work vehicle, but never have to use that ramp. But I look at it. Frankly the inattentive way people drive, I am surprised that someone hasnt flown off the end of that thing yet.

    Furthermore, if that is not the final end of the project, and more needs to be done to finish it, then they should have left the stupid thing closed!

  8. Haa! Its probably a plan anyway. Spend milions of dollars on some screwy highway project with a laughable, dangerous result, and force people not to use it!

    Yep theyll get us on mass transportation yet! Haa! Well not ME they wont….I’ll walk before I crowd into some silly train or bus.

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