The recent article about lighting improvements in the tunnel east of Chinook peaked my interest. The Long Beach Grange’s call for action is well founded.
I have lived here for over 40 years and driven through it countless times. The State of Washington did a project to replace the existing lights about 30 years ago. The lighting at the time was non-existent. Exposed wires on the ceiling, ceiling leaked like a sieve, lights were no better than bulbs you could buy at the hardware store. Eighteenth century medieval-style torches would have fit right in on the sides.
Anyway, it is in dire need of a fix and 10 years more down the dark road ain’t going to cut it.
A bigger concern of mine, however, is the left turn that can be made westbound through the tunnel to Fort Columbia State Park. I am aware of at least two rear-end collisions that have occurred there over the past 10 years. As you exit the tunnel, a sharp curve exists, which is mostly blind and speed limit is 55. I am surprised no one has ever been killed there, to my knowledge. This should also be a top priority that the state should take a serious look at.
In the summer months when the traffic increases 10 fold, it can get real dangerous at this point and, oh by the way, obeying the current law that directs drivers to turn on their headlights going though the tunnel can and should be done to improve safety. To me this is a no-brainer. Read the signs, goofy!