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Is it a "roadway" or isn't it?

Posted Tuesday, February 6, 2018 by Andrew Charles Huff

So what is considered the actual “roadway” in our state? This was the question recently before our Court of Appeals when a driver was cited for crossing over onto a neutral area separating a highway onramp from an adjacent lane of travel.

The driver was traveling westbound on U.S. 97 from Route 2 in Chelan County when she crossed over a portion of the highway designated as a “neutral area.” A neutral area is a paved triangular space separating an entrance or exit ramp from an adjacent lane of travel. A Washington State Trooper observed her and conducted a traffic stop based on this observation.

The Court reviewed the meaning of the term “roadway” as used in state statute and case law. After much review, the Court ultimately found that this “neutral area” does not meet the definitions of a roadway according to Washington law. Therefore, because the driver drove in this area that was not considered a “roadway,” the stop was proper.

State of Washington v. Jena Brooks, Division III

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