State Route 281

Central Washington route upgraded for agricultural truck traffic

State and federal transportation agencies have recently upgraded and reclassified Washington State Route 281 as a heavy truck freight corridor allowing 10 million tons or more of mostly agricultural freight moves per year.

The 10-mile, two-lane highway in central Washington was recently upgraded from a T-2 to a T-1 truck freight corridor by the Washington State Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration to allow for future increases in heavy truck traffic reports 

Roughly 2,000 trucks a day currently travel SR 281, which connects Interstate 90 to the Port of Quincy at State Route 28, according to Curt Morris, a Quincy port commissioner. The highway’s average annual tonnage totals more than 11.7 million freight tons.

Future plans call for widening the road to four lanes after gaining approval by the state Legislature to fund future construction, Morris said. “At some point there’s enough right of way to make it a four-lane road,” he said. “With the [T-1] classification, we have a better chance of attracting funding.”

He added, “The reason for the reclassification is because Quincy is also home to a couple of big cold storage facilities, and we’ve got an intermodal yard.”

In addition, the port gets a lot of traffic from the nearby Wenatchee and Chelan areas, which are among the largest fruit-packing sites in the world. “It’s only a 10-mile stretch, but it’s a busy 10 miles,” Morris said.

Much of the truck traffic is generated from Quincy by movement of products as frozen french fries, frozen vegetables and fresh produce including apples, potatoes, cherries and onions, and more than 1 million square feet of cold storage warehousing at the port.


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