Straight talk on S-curves, traffic lingo

Who is Wilburton and where is his tunnel? Or is it a trestle?

And what is Kennydale and where is its hill?

We know Interstate 405 is a traffic nightmare, but where exactly are the dreaded S-curves? And is there really a Swamp Creek at Swamp Creek, wherever that is?

It's a lingo we love to hate.

The names roll off the tongues of traffic reporters, and natives undoubtedly can plot them blindfolded. But for many of us, these places, not on any map, are as puzzling as trying to understand the travails of Sound Transit or the latest news from the Middle East.

Here, then, is a primer on Traffic Map 101, with thanks to the Washington State Department of Transportation. Let us know if we've missed any.

The Boeing Freeway: It's actually Highway 526 that takes people from Interstate 5 west toward the Everett Boeing plant.

The Brewery: This refers to the former Rainier Brewery, now Tully's roasting operation, on the west side of I-5 south of downtown Seattle.

The Bus Barn: The Metro Transit barn sits west of I-5, about one-quarter mile south of the Northeast 175th Street interchange.

Canyon Park: The area just north of the Snohomish County line on the Interstate 405 and Highway 527 interchange.

Coal Creek Parkway: This is an exit south of Bellevue on I-405 that gets people to the Factoria Mall and Newcastle.

County Line: Usually traffic reporters are talking about the King-Snohomish County line where it crosses I-5 at Northeast 206th Street. It's traditionally been where things start to jam up in the morning and evening commutes.

Dagmar's Landing: This boatyard sits west of I-5 in north Everett, just off the Highway 529 interchange near the Snohomish River.

Duwamish Curves: These are on I-5 between south Boeing Field and the Highway 599 junction.

The East High-rise: This could refer to the east end of either the Interstate 90 or Evergreen Point floating bridges.

Eastgate Hill: Drivers on I-90 travel this between the I-405 interchange and Issaquah.

Hewitt Avenue Trestle: This is the bridge on Highway 2 linking Everett to eastern Snohomish County.

Kennydale Hill: This is a community in north Renton bisected by I-405. And yes, there is a hill.

Kingsgate: This is one exit north of the Totem Lake exit on I-405. Taking the Northeast 160th Street exit to Kirkland/Woodinville can get you to Kingsgate.

Mercer Weave: This is where motorists from Highway 520 and Mercer Street have to move quickly across several lanes of I-5 traffic to get from one road to the other. This often causes a dynamic weaving pattern, says the DOT.

Midway Landfill: This sits west of I-5 between Kent and Federal Way.

Nalley Valley Viaduct: This is the portion of Highway 16 that connects to I-5 in Tacoma. Nalley's Fine Foods is nearby.

Renton S-curves: On I-405 through the downtown Renton area, where the highway curves and is a notorious bottleneck for commuters.

Southcenter Hill: The area of I-5 just south of where it intersects with I-405 near Southcenter.

Swamp Creek Interchange: The interchange of I-405 and I-5 in the Lynnwood area. And yes, Swamp Creek runs through the area.

Totem Lake: This is in Kirkland. The Totem Lake Mall is accessible from the Northeast 124th Street exit off I-405.

The Truck Scales: The scales are on the west side of I-5 between the exit to South 320th Street and the Highway 18 interchange.

The Valley Freeway: Highway 167 between Renton and Tacoma.

The Wilburton Trestle: This is a 100-foot-high railroad trestle adjacent to I-405 south of the Southeast Eighth Street exit in Bellevue. The Spirit of Washington Dinner Train crosses over the trestle, which first opened in 1904.

The Wilburton Tunnel: Southbound I-405 passes through the tunnel right before the I-90 interchange. Wilburton is the name of a neighborhood in Bellevue. It is named for Manley Wilbur, president of Wilbur Logging and part owner of the original town site established in 1895.

Fourth-of-July warning

The Washington State Department of Transportation reminds drivers not to stop on I-5 Thursday night to watch the Fourth of July fireworks. Also, sections of Highway 202 will be closed near Marymoor Park in Redmond for the fireworks.

To contact Bumper to Bumper, e-mail us at or call Susan Gilmore at 206-464-2054.