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Washington State Route 304 and the Bremerton-Seattle Ferry

Washington State Route 304 is a 3.14 mile state highway which runs from WA 3 in Bremerton east over the 16.3 mile route of the Bremerton-Seattle Ferry to Alaskan Way/WA 519.






From WA 3 the routing of WA 304 eastward begins on Charleston Boulevard.






WA 304 on Charleston Boulevard passes the main entrance of Naval Station Kitsap Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.






Charleston Boulevard eventually becomes Callow Avenue.  WA 304 has a junction with WA 310 on Callow Avenue.  WA 310 continues on Callow Avenue whereas WA 304 continues east towards downtown Bremerton on Burwell Street.





WA 304 ascends a large hill on Burwell Street before descending to a junction with WA 303.








WA 304 continues east to Pacific Avenue where traffic heading to the ferry must turn south.  Westbound WA 304 traffic emerges from the Seattle-Bremerton Ferry via the tunnel on the left of the first picture.







WA 304 passes the Puget Sound Naval Museum before the toll booth for the Bremerton-Seattle Ferry.





The ferry terminal is managed as a Department of Transportation Center.  There is no true turnaround point at the ferry terminal which I'm to understand is something of an oddity due to the geographic constraints from the nearby Naval Base. 





A look at the empty ferry slip.





The ferry terminal is actually pretty casual.  I was able to grab some photos of the road leading westbound WA 304 traffic to the Burwell Street Tunnel.  The Bremerton Ferry terminal has been under the authority of the Washington State Ferry system since 1951.






The Bremerton-Seattle Ferry is serviced by two ferries; the Chimacum and Kaleetan.  The Kaleetan is shown arriving from Seattle below ready to unload vehicle traffic.





There are two approach lanes on the slip loading the ferries bound for Seattle.





The Kaleetan is Super Class ferry which is about 382 feet long, has four diesel engines totaling 8,000 horsepower, can carry a maximum of 1,868 passengers and 144 vehicles.  More information about the Kaleetan and Chimacum can be found on the WSDOT website.

WSDOT on the Kaleetan

WSDOT on the Chimacum

As the Kaleetan pulled away from the ferry terminal in Bremerton the entire Naval Ship Yard, downtown Bremerton and the 2011 Manette Bridge could be seen.








Eastward the ferry route to Seattle first passes between White Point on Bainbridge Island and Waterman Point.






The ferry route next passes between Fort Ward Park on Bainbridge Island and Manchester State Park before emerging near Blake Island.







From Blake Island downtown Seattle can be seen ahead on the ferry route between Bainbridge Island and Alki Point.





The ferry route follows the shoreline from Alki Point to Duwamish Head approaching Elliot Bay.





Emerging into Elliot Bay the full width of downtown Seattle is very apparent. 





The ferry continues ahead easterly towards Coleman Dock which is easy to spot by looking for Smith Tower.





Drivers are notified via Public Announcement system to return to their vehicles approximately 3 minutes before landing at Coleman Dock.


WA 304 traffic emerges on a dual-lane slip at Coleman Dock and continues to Alaskan Way where the route terminates at the unsigned WA 519.  The Alaskan Way Viaduct is a obvious feature observable while pulling away from Coleman Dock.  There is signage directing traffic to I-5 and I-90.







The original Coleman Dock was completed in 1882 but burned in the Great 1889 Seattle Fire but was quickly rebuilt.  The Washington State Ferry system bought out Coleman Dock in 1951 and is currently renovating the facility.

WA 304 was created out of Primary State Highway 21 in 1964.  Interestingly it appears that PSH 21 had a spur in downtown Bremerton as it is listed as the legislative route that was sourced to create WA 304 on a WSDOT document from 1965.

1965 WSDOT Document Showing State Route Numbers


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