PORT ANGELES — After 14-plus years posted as a cautionary tale to drivers between Sequim and Port Angeles, the collision awareness sign near the State Patrol’s Port Angeles office has come down.
State Patrol Trooper Chelsea Hodgson reported on Feb. 6 that the “Driving 101: It’s Basic Safety” digital collision sign came down sometime between Feb. 5-6 after breaking outside the State Patrol’s office off U.S. Highway 101.
The sign was one of two in the state recording collisions since 2006.
Grant funding paid for the sign, Hodgson said, which has long run out.
“Over the years, the sign has fallen into disrepair to the point where it would have needed to be completely replaced,” she said.
At the time of installation, troopers said it served as a reminder for drivers to keep safe by tallying the number of days since a serious injury collision occurred. After each serious collision, the sign was reset to zero by troopers.
It was installed sometime in 2006 near the west intersection of Old Olympic Highway and U.S. Highway 101 on the north side.
The sign was posted as part of a safety corridor project spanning about 32 miles from the Jefferson/Clallam County line at milepost 274.65 on the eastside to the state Highway 101/112 intersection at milepost 242.61 on the westside.
The corridor project began in Dec. 2004 after a number of fatal and serious injury collisions came to the attention of local and state leaders.
From Christmas 2003-Dec. 2004, there were 19 motorists and passengers killed in collisions on the 32-mile stretch.
The safety corridor project ended in 2007.
A year later, members of the Sequim and Port Angeles chambers of commerce contested the sign because they felt it deterred business and was ugly.
However, law enforcement officials told them of the sign’s intents was to keep people safe and the groups withdrew a request asking to take it down.
State Patrol data shows there were 12 fatalities and 22 serious injuries from Jan. 1, 2007-Feb. 1, 2020, stretching from milepost 250 to 264.
Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at [email protected].