Category Archives: driving in Bremerton

How long will the construction cones linger?

Riddell's new paving. Photo by Larry Steagall.
Riddell’s new paving. Photo by Larry Steagall.

Road construction typically declines as summer ends and the rains of fall return. But around Bremerton, have you noticed the construction cones are lingering?

Here’s a roundup of road construction projects, and when you can expect things will wrap up.

Riddell Road: A joint venture between the city and Kitsap County got this road, on the northern edge of Bremerton, repaved. Work was completed this week (pictured) though Bremerton crews still have to add markings to the roadway itself. The city paid $60,000 to the county to complete the effort, which came from the Transportation Benefit District.

Austin Drive: The city received about $700,000 in federal funding to repave the entirety of the  roadway, between Kitsap Way and Erland’s Point Road. An agreement was reached with the Navy to also repave a portion of Higbee Road, which goes to the Naval Hospital. Plus, in a nod to pedestrians crossing the road inside NAD Park, a “tabletop” intersection will be added that slows cars.

Work will begin Monday and last about two weeks.

Kitsap Lake Junction island: This sounds more exotic than it really is, but if you’ve ever tried to cross runway sized Kitsap Way near Harlow Drive, it can feel like a real-life game of Frogger. No more. A pedestrian “refuge” island means you can go halfway across and stop and a crosswalk will guide the way. The concrete work here is nearly complete but there’s one more component that remains: a “rapid flashing beacon” that will light up to alert motorists that pedestrians are crossing.

The poles and electronics won’t be installed until late December, City Engineer Tom Knuckey said. But in the meantime, most of the construction cones should go away.

The project, part of five total intersections being improved in Bremerton, is being paid for by $692,000 in federal funds.

Here’s what’s happening at the other four intersections those federal dollars are enhancing. In each case, construction cones should go away by early October but expect crews to return to erect poles and the electronic aspects at the end of 2016.

6th Street and High Avenue: The intersection is getting a “HAWK” signal that will allow pedestrians to stop traffic to stop Sixth at the push of a button.

1st Street and Charleston Boulevard: The crossing is getting a rapid flashing beacon like the one on Kitsap Way at Harlow Drive.

11th Street and High Avenue: Aside from the new concrete curbs, the intersection will get “countdown clocks” that inform pedestrians how long they have to cross.

11th and High.
11th and High.

Kitsap Way at 11th Street: The new concrete curbs are in, and the intersection will get “countdown clocks” that inform pedestrians how long they have to cross.

Tracyton Guardrail: City officials cannot seem to get a bid — at least yet — from a construction company to construct a $100,000 guardrail along Tracyton Beach Road. They’ve vowed to keep trying, and that construction would happen in the fall. “We just need to get it done,” Knuckey said. A young woman was killed there early this year.

Also: if you’re wondering about projects in wider Kitsap County, Sun Reporter Ed Friedrich has you covered here.

Last but not least, Lebo: One more quick note about Lebo Boulevard, which will be reconstructed with wide sidewalks, lighting and bike lanes in 2017. A community meeting will be held at 6 p.m.Oct. 11 at the Sheridan Community Center, 280 Lebo Boulevard. A $6 million state grant is funding the work.

Beat blast: 5 stories you’ve gotta know in Bremerton this week

Here’s your three minute news update for the week in Bremerton. In the video above, you’ll learn:

  1. What Bremerton road will soon get a $5 million makeover?
  2. What park is getting expanded?
  3. Who may be to blame for too much saltwater in the sewers?
  4. The City Council’s change to utility taxes
  5. What brewery opens in Bremerton Friday


This week’s blast was filmed on location at LoveCraft Brewery, 275 Fifth Street, and includes an interview with the owners.

Comments or suggestions? Send them to me at

5 things you need to know in Bremerton this week

Got three minutes? I’ll get you up to speed on what’s going on in Bremerton, including:

1. When’s this windstorm going away?


2. Who’s mapping all of Kitsap’s waterfalls?

3. How’d a gull trapped on a utility get rescued?

4. What’s the church on Sixth Street up to now?

5. Learn about the passing of a Bremerton car legend.

All that and more at this week’s Bremerton Beat Blast.

Comments or suggestions? Send them to me at


The paving is done … so why is Washington Avenue still closed?

Crews paint the retaining wall on Washington Avenue, as part of the street's $3.5 million makeover. Photo by Larry Steagall.
Crews paint the retaining wall on Washington Avenue, as part of the street’s $3.5 million makeover. Photo by Larry Steagall.

UPDATE, Dec. 11: City officials announced Friday that Washington Avenue will reopen to traffic on mid-day, Monday, Dec. 14. Some work continues that could result in intermittent closures but the roadway, including the intersections at Fifth and Sixth streets will finally be opened.


At long last, paving’s been completed on Washington Avenue and drivers will see some relief on their afternoon commutes home. 


Not quite.

The city has chosen to keep the southbound lane of Washington closed until mid-December, in order to get a few more tasks completed and so it does not further confuse drivers, according to Bremerton Public Works Director Chal Martin.

“Since folks are used to the one-lane northbound configuration and the intersection closure, we think it is best overall to get the work done right with fewer disruptions,” Martin told me.

There’s still a lot of electrical work to do, to include putting in those decorative downtown street lights. Crews from RV Associates also must wait for the pavement to “cure” before they can apply markings to the street. Remember, there will be Bremerton’s first “bike boxes” as a part of this project.

“Since we only have one lane to work with each way now, it really makes it much more difficult to get the big trucks in, and have the room they need to work safely,” Martin said.


The $3.5 million project has narrowed the roadway from four lanes to two, which made room for wider sidewalks and bike lanes. The project is also completing a new sewer line that will allow the city to abandon an environmentally sensitive sewer line on the beach below.

Once most of the road work’s done, the crews will be able to finish off the work at Evergreen-Rotary Park. Now that the aforementioned sewer beach line will be defunct, there’s no need for a pump station, roadway and power lines through the middle of the park. Crews will take those things out and fully connect the original park with the new 9/11 Memorial via grass and pathways.

Here’s the city’s timeline — not quite the October completion they’d expected.

  • Paving complete – Thursday, October 15th
  • Street lights installed and operational – October 30th
  • Landscaping on Washington – October 30th
  • Park construction – October 30th to December 18th
  • Underground (electrical) conversion complete and street fully reopened – December 18th

The odd asphalt sidewalks on Washington Avenue


I was startled on my commute this morning to find asphalt — yes asphalt — where concrete sidewalks should be on the $3.5 million Washington Avenue project. 

As you can see from the photo above, it basically looks like there’s another street where sidewalks should be. So what gives?

City officials said in an email earlier this week that yes, asphalt will have to do on the eastern Washington Avenue sidewalk, between Sixth and Fifth streets. The reason is that there’s a proposed development, once called the “Towers Project,” that the city believes will simply rip the street open again when construction on it begins.

The reason for their confidence: the development, begun by Absher Construction, paid upwards of $200,000 for the city to bury power lines on Washington between Sixth and Fifth streets. That suggests the project is not just one for the community development department shelves but that they’re serious about getting going.

Still, it looks odd, don’t you think?

Other project updates: On Monday, work will shift to the western side of Washington Avenue. That means that northbound traffic on Washington will take up the new lane on the east side, with the western side closed down. There won’t be any southbound traffic allowed on Washington, and the intersections at Fifth and Sixth streets will be closed. Contractor RV Associates estimates it will take seven to eight weeks to complete the western work.

The Towers project rendering.
The Towers project rendering.

When completed in mid-October — that’s the hope anyway — the project will have taken the road from four lanes to two, added wider sidewalks, bike lanes, landscaping and decorative lighting.

The project also includes the linking of the 9/11 Memorial park with the wider Evergreen-Rotary Park. In mid-September, crews will demolish the old end of Highland Avenue and a sewer pump house there. They’ll plant grass, put in new pathways and create a new viewing platform of the Port Washington Narrows. Personally, I am really looking forward to seeing the new park, the design of which you can see below.

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Washington Avenue Project: Sixth Street to close

Work begins down at Fifth Street and Washington Ave. in Bremerton during the first phase of improvements. LARRY STEAGALL / KITSAP SUN
Work begins down at Fifth Street and Washington Ave. in Bremerton during the first phase of improvements. LARRY STEAGALL / KITSAP SUN

As you may have noticed, work on Washington Avenue has started to ramp up. Crews from RV Associates have closed down Fifth Street at Washington Avenue, mostly to install new stormwater drains as well as some water and sewer pipes.

Next week, it’s going to get crazier, with the closure of Sixth Street at Washington Avenue to do much of the same work they’ve been doing on Fifth. The closure starts Tuesday. Mayor Patty Lent assured me that the city will keep open one of the two roads — Fifth or Sixth — at any given time, so Fifth should be reopened before Sixth closes.

The closure will remain until about May 19, though there will be “intermittent” openings, including for the Armed Forces Day parade on May 16.

This, as frequent readers of this blog know, is only the beginning.

A few weeks from now, northbound Washington roadway, between Sixth and the Manette Bridge, will close. Traffic will be diverted into the southbound lanes while crews put in utilities and install wider sidewalks and bike lanes on the northbound side.

There’s certainly no shortage of roadwork going on right now. A section of Marine Drive was paved with some fanfare recently, a chunk of Trenton Avenue in Manette was, albeit without fanfare. Along with Washington Avenue, Austin Drive near NAD Park will also be repaved this summer.

I’ll keep you posted on these city projects. Please don’t hesitate to ask questions along the way.

A few resources:

Phase I & II Traffic Control Plan (PDF) or the temporary Phase III Traffic Control Plan (PDF)

Come walk the new Wheaton Way with me

Little known fact: there’s actually no such thing as “Lower,” or even “Old” Wheaton Way. It’s just a title we Bremerton residents use to distinguish a meandering little thoroughfare from the much larger commercial corridor nearby.

Roots of the road date back to the 1920s. Once lined with popular spots like the Maple Leaf Tavern and the hopping Bay Bowl, it became an oddly wide street with only a few businesses left (the Bay Bowl, I should add, is now home to a Thai restaurant).


But “Lower” Wheaton Way, as it became when the Warren Avenue Bridge was built, was just reconstructed, adding wide sidewalks, bike lanes, street lamps and a new surface.

At noon on Saturday, I invite you to come out and walk this nearly mile-long stretch of revamped roadway. We’ll tell tales of its history, discuss its transformation and contemplate its future.

We’ll meet at Whitey Domstad Park, the little green space next to the Manette Bridge roundabout and just above the Boat Shed restaurant.

And speaking of local merchants, the Boat Shed and FOUND in Manette have agreed to offer 10 percent off to those who go on the Story Walk, and The Weekender on East 11th will take 15 percent off an item that day following the walk.

This is the fourth story walk of the year. Here’s links to our previous walks:

Washington Avenue, past and present

The meandering Madrona Forest

Redwood Rendezvous in West Bremerton

Fourth Street’s Economic Divide



New street parking comes to downtown Bremerton

Don’t be distracted by the mountains. There’s new street parking below them.


Next time you’re in a jam to find some parking in downtown Bremerton, consider some new parallel parking spaces near the Manette Bridge. Yes, it will be a bit of a walk to Washington Avenue but there’s plenty of them — around 40 spaces — that have been created with the downsizing of the roadway.

The placement of parking spots on Washington, as it curves around and becomes 11th Street, is an early part of the Washington Avenue project that will reduce the street from four lanes to two in an effort to add bike lanes and wider sidewalks to the area between the Manette Bridge and Fifth Street.

But city officials realized that should the four lanes become two on Washington, the road north of the bridge, as it turns 90 degrees west and becomes 11th street, has no need to be four lanes anymore, either. Plus, there’s some residents impacted by the project that may not even be able to make it to their driveways for awhile.

Chal Martin, the city’s public works director, told me the new spots are permanent, and will last long after the Washington Avenue project is done. In the meantime, signs advertising the spaces to be two hour parking will be put in. Hopefully, though, the parking enforcers will respect those residents who can’t make it to their driveways due to the project.

New parking.


IN PHOTOS: Washington Avenue, past and present

Photo by Larry Steagall.
Photo by Larry Steagall.

About 40 people came out for the third Story Walk in Bremerton of the year, meeting at Evergreen-Rotary Park on a surprisingly sunny Saturday afternoon. This time, the focus was the $3.5 million Washington Avenue project, and after an overview, we charted a course to the southeast.

Photo by Mark Henson.
Photo by Mark Henson.

I found today that there’s a pretty defined line between critics and supporters of the project. It goes like this:

Critics do not like the idea of having less of a road in and out of Bremerton (via the Manette Bridge) and believe if the city is to grow, this won’t be a helpful endeavor.

Photo by Mark Henson.
Photo by Mark Henson.

Supporters believe that the road’s eastern sidewalk has gotten so bad, drivers can afford to wait just a little longer in traffic if it means that you won’t feel like you’re going to be seriously injured if you take a wrong step.

One curious aspect of the project to me is the history behind it all. This isn’t the first time Washington Avenue’s capacity was debated and then changed — in the late 1960s, it was expanded from two lanes to four lanes.

Now, we’re going back down to two.

I have long sought documentation of the late 60s project from state and city officials, to no avail. But on Friday, I got an email from Bremerton resident Jim Herdman.

“Last night I ran across some old pictures of the widening of Washington Avenue in the late 1960’s,” he wrote to me. “Our old house that my wife and I lived in for thirty years (1974 to 2004) was located at 611 Washington, second house in from the corner of 6th and Washington.  My folks bought the house in 1957 and owned the property when the construction began.  The house on the corner was the old Red Cross Chapter before they later moved to Pacific Avenue.”

Herdman dropped off a set of photos showing construction crews tearing into yards to make the roadway bigger. I share them with you here with his permission.

The road before construction.
The road before construction.
Screen Shot 2015-03-21 at 10.36.32 PM
The work begins. Equipment goes right into residents’ yards.


Digging the hole for the retaining wall we all know and love today.
Digging the hole for the retaining wall we all know and love today.

Screen Shot 2015-03-21 at 9.23.19 PM

Screen Shot 2015-03-21 at 9.23.32 PM
The road takes its new shape.


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Construction for the new project starts up in April; city officials hope the road work is done by the end of the year.

Thanks to all who came out for the story walk; mark your calendars for April 25, when we get a closer look at the Bridge to Bridge trail.

Photo by Mark Henson.
Photo by Mark Henson.

Here’s some links to our past Story Walks:

The meandering Madrona Forest

Redwood Rendezvous in West Bremerton

Fourth Street’s Economic Divide


What will become of Washington Avenue?


It’s decision time for Washington Avenue. Following a road test, comment period and a public meeting last Thursday, the Bremerton City Council will now decide how to spend the $1.7 million it has from the state for bicycle and pedestrian improvements along the thoroughfare.

Here are the Council’s four options:

1. The original option: City engineers envisioned a simple road “diet” for the stretch of Washington between Sixth Street and the Manette Bridge, in which a four lane road would become a two lane one. That will make room for wider sidewalks and bike lanes on both sides of the road, as well as additional lighting, but it would cut vehicular capacity in half.

Option 2.
Option 2.

2. The modified option: Following the road test, in which angry commuters gave public works crews an earful about traffic backups, public works crews came up with a modified proposal. Under this option, the waterside (or east side) of the road’s dated concrete median would still be reduced to one lane to make room for the pedestrian and bicycle improvements. But the upper (or west side) portion of the median would become a two way street, with minimal bicycle and pedestrian safety improvements being installed on that side (a combined bike-pedestrian lane would be added).

3. The one-way option: Also dreamed up after the road test, the option sees the road cut down from four lanes to two, but all lanes would be one-way northbound, with southbound drivers having to go to Pacific Avenue to get downtown.

4. The do nothing option: The city could just give the money back and forgo the improvements altogether.

At Thursday’s public meeting, attended by more than 40 people, option 1 was the clear favorite after a preference vote was held. You can see the tabulated results via the collection of post-it notes in the photo below. Twenty-eight people said option 1 was their first choice, seven said it was their second choice and six said it was their third choice. Option 2 drew just one first-place vote, 16 second-place votes and three third place votes. Option 3 had only three first-place votes, two second-place votes and 11 third-place votes.

Strong support for option 1 came as a surprise to Bremerton Public Works Director Chal Martin. It was Martin, after all, who stood by the road when the city tested the option 1 concept in April. Motorists were none too pleased by the backups created between 4-4:30 p.m., the town’s rush hour. Roughly three-fourths of respondents to an unscientific Kitsap Sun online poll said eliminating a lane in each direction on the road was a bad idea.

Feedback at the public meeting was varied, but many bicyclists came out in support of the improvements. Martin also reached out to Rick Tift, executive director of the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, for his thoughts, as Tift could not make the meeting. Tift prefers Option 2, Martin says.

The Council decision won’t come without a chance to comment one more time. The decision will likely be made at the Council’s July 2 meeting at the Norm Dicks Government Center, where you can have your say one more time. Meeting’s at 5:30 p.m.

Below, you’ll also find Martin’s memo to the City Council.


Washington Avenue memo