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If a road fulfills one of the categories, a recommendation is forwarded to the Pierce County Council in the form of a proposed ordinance, which if adopted, officially designates the classification of the road as an arterial or as primitive. The process includes public hearings and can take up to four months to complete.
When a road is designated as an arterial, it receives a center line paint stripe and all intersecting local road approaches are controlled by Stop signs. When a road is designated as primitive, it is posted with a primitive road sign that notifies drivers that no warning signs are present.
Roads are most effectively classified by their function. The primary functions of roads are:
The degree to which these functions are provided is considered an integral part of classifying roads. The main considerations for classifying roads into functional groups are the travel desires of the public, land service needs based on existing and expected land use, and the overall continuity of the system.
The Pierce County functional classification system directly addresses all public roads in unincorporated Pierce County (except state highways).