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AGO 1950 No. 247 - April 04, 1950
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Smith Troy | 1941-1952 | Attorney General of Washington

ERECTION AND MAINTENANCE OF STOP SIGNS AT INTERSECTION OF COUNTY ROAD AND STATE HIGHWAYS

The county having jurisdiction must erect and maintain stop signs upon all county roads at the point of intersection with any arterial primary or secondary state highway unless there has been a designation of preference by the Director of Highways.

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                                                                    April 4, 1950

Honorable W. A. Bugge
Director of Highways
Olympia, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 49-51 No. 247

Dear Sir:

            In your letter of February 4, 1950, you set forth the following question for our opinion:

            "I would sincerely appreciate having you render an opinion as to the responsibility in accordance with the state law as to whether it is the county's responsibility to install and maintain a stop sign at the intersection of a county road with a state highway, or whether it is the state's responsibility."

            Our conclusion is that stop signs shall be placed and maintained upon all county roads at the point of intersection with any primary or secondary state highway, by the county having jurisdiction, unless the county road has been designated by the Director of Highways as an arterial having preference over the traffic on the state highway, in which event it is the state's responsibility to install and maintain a stop sign on the state highway.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            The answer to your question is supplied by section 56, chapter 53, Laws of 1937, as last amended by section 1, chapter 206, Laws of 1947 (6400-56 Rem. Supp. 1947), which provides in part:

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            "* * *Stop signs shall be placed as follows:  Upon all county roads at the point of intersection with any arterial primary or secondary state highway, which signs shall be erected and maintained by the county having jurisdiction; upon all primary and secondary state highways at the point of intersection with any county road which has been designated by the Director of Highways as an arterial having preference over the traffic on the state highway, which signs shall be erected and maintained by the Director of Highways; upon at least one state highway at the intersection of two state highways."  (Emphasis supplied)

            In regard to which state highways have been designated as arterials, section 105, chapter 189, Laws of 1937, as last amended by section 14, chapter 200, Laws of 1947 (6360-105 Rem. Supp. 1947), provides as follows:

            "All primary and secondary state highways are hereby declared to be arterial highways as respects all other public highways or private ways except that the Director of Highways shall have the authority to designate any county road or city street as an arterial having preference over the traffic on the state highway if traffic conditions will be improved by such action."  (Emphasis supplied)

            Since these two sections are clear and definite in statement, there can be no conclusion other than that it is the statutory duty of the county having jurisdiction to erect and maintain stop signs upon all county roads at the point of intersection with any arterial primary or secondary state highway unless there has been a designation of preference by the Director of Highways.

Very truly yours,

SMITH TROY
Attorney General

PAUL SINNITT
Assistant Attorney General

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