Chico Way patching is prep work for 2015 overlay

The in basket: Sam Watland read the recent column about plans for restoring Silverdale streets when the current water main replacement is finished and said, “Streets restored to ‘county standards’ isn’t saying much. The patching of Chico Way has recently been done by the county road crew and the road is rougher now than before the repair.

“The edges of the patches are not sealed and are already crumbling. Yesterday was a dry and relatively sunny day with no road crew around so they must be finished.

“Whoever the county inspector is needs to update the county standards and get out on the county roads,” he said. “I would be happy to take him/her for a ride in my Toyota pickup if their kidneys are able to take a beating.”

The out basket: The work Sam sees isn’t finished, says Doug Bear of Kitsap County Public Works, though it’ll be like that for several months.

“The work he describes is pre-level work, the precursor to overlay or chip sealing road work,” said Doug.

“Pre-leveling and full-depth patching is done to resolve deficiencies in the roadway such as severe alligator cracking, potholes and localized settlement, or to restore roadway cross slope to ensure adequate surface water runoff from the traveled way.

“This work is done up to a year prior to the overlay based on equipment and crew availability and the paving schedule. The road surface on Chico Way is scheduled for an asphalt overlay next year late spring or summer.”

This year’s prep work is complete , he said, but they’ll take a look at it to see if some of the patches aren’t sealed, as Sam suggests.

Ditch work on Highway 166 is proactive

The in basket: A loader has been scooping big shovels of mud into Peninsula Top Soil dump trucks from the south shoulder of Highway 166 east of Port Orchard the last couple of weeks, stopping traffic and allowing alternating flows of traffic through one remaining open lane.

It was a short distance west of where I’d seen state maintenance equipment doing similar work earlier this year, where water chronically flowed onto the pavement. But I’d never seen that problem where they are working now.

Since the only official vehicle I saw at the scene was a city of Port Orchard public works truck, I asked Public Works Director Mark Dorsey what prompted the work.

The out basket: Mark told me, “The state intervened last winter to do some limited ditch work to keep water off their pavement. We (now) are trying to be proactive and keep the ditch system open and functioning.

“The objective is to reestablish the flow of runoff within the ditches, rather than have standing water on the roadway,” he said. It’s hard to say how much longer the work and traffic disruption will go on. They worked through Thursday’s rain,  but the loader is still on the roadside and they have a ways to go yet.

Flexible log-like structures left lying crosswise in the cleaned ditch are temporary erosion/sedimentation control devices employed for the activity,” he said when I asked. He said they are called “waddles.”

The state and city share responsibility for the highway, he said.

I know that spot better than I would like. Back in the late 1960s or early ’70s, I was hurrying in light snowfall to Bremerton in my retired state patrol car acquired at auction. I tried to pass a cautious driver ahead of me just west of Ross Point and lost traction. After a 180-degree spin, I slammed backward into the ditch, then about six feet deep. The state filled it in later for safety reasons.

I was sitting on my seat belt, which left a pretty good bruise on my backside. Had I had the misfortune to have done a 360 and gone in forward, I’d probably look much different than I do now. Heaven knows how I would have fared had I gone over the water side of the highway.

That’s probably when I got serious about wearing my seat belt.

Reader and his GPS stumped by some addresses

The in basket: Jim Sparks writes, “My wife and I moved to the area four years ago from Pennsylvania and we have been wondering what was the rationale for naming roads/streets using the ‘street court road NE’ (or something similar) system.

“I kinda understand the NE part to give some idea of where in a particular city the street is located but we have found that there can be multiples of streets with the same name in a city.

Our GPS can’t figure it out nor can we. It’s the multiples of similar street names, 111 64 St Ct NE, then 111 64 Ct Ave SE, then 111 64th St NE. I’m exaggerating slightly but if you are not native to the area it’s very confusing.

“Who was responsible?”

The out basket: County and city officials struggle with this and will continue to, says Larry Keeton, head of Kitsap’s Department of Community Development. The county is embarking on a three-year project next year to correct some of these issues, including duplicative street names.

A lot of duplication in street and road names is historic, accumulating over the years. Correcting it often requires forcing people to change their addresses, an unpopular thing, and minimizing public inconvenience is among the objectives of such efforts.

Surprisingly, current county code does not allow proper names as new street names, except for historic reasons. That’s what allowed an exception for relatively new Greaves Way in Silverdale, named after the pioneer Greaves family.

The proper name restriction is to avoid further duplication, Larry told me, offering the two major Anderson Hill roads, one in South Kitsap and the other in Silverdale as examples of what can happen.

“The other question,” he said, “is whether

the name is easy to say and spell.

“In the future, we’ll probably say you can use proper names if easily spelled and not duplicative.’

“We have 61,000 addresses and 9,000 are out of sequence or misnumbered,” he said.  “We need to correct that with next generation 911 coming on board,” he said.

Having even numbers on one side of each street and odd numbers on the other is a key objective. So is giving names to long dirt driveways with many homes on them.

As to the directional indicators like NE and SW, current code says “ways of travel running generally or predominantly north and south shall be suffixed with the abbreviated name of the district for the entire way of travel, and ways of travel running generally or predominantly east and west shall be prefixed with the abbreviated name of the district for the entire way of travel.”

 

Enforce fender/mud flap law, says reader

The in basket:  Russ Holloway asks, “Why isn’t the mud flap/fender law (RCW 46.37.500) enforced? Dealerships are selling vehicles that are not properly equipped. New trucks, cars and motorcycles are coming off of the show room floor not street legal. I think there would be fewer dings and cracked windshields if this was adhered to.”

I asked State Trooper Russ Winger about his experience with this law and its enforcement, and its applicability to motorcycles.

The out basket: “We have been stopping vehicles, mostly lifted trucks, for this violation since I became a trooper 26 years ago, at least.” Russ said. “If the body line of the vehicle extends down to mid-wheel level and there is 2-3 feet of body behind the tire there is no real reason (other than oversize tires extending outside the body line) to add splash aprons.

“Vehicles that have lifted suspensions and oversize/off road tires (they seem to go together) are the vehicles that troopers tend to stop most frequently for this violation. There is obviously more chance of spray/rocks/mud being thrown up and to the rear of the vehicle.

“I personally use the ‘corrective notice’ enforcement method on most occasions to gain compliance with the law. The driver is given the notice with a directive to install sufficient spray devices and have the vehicle inspected by an officer for compliance. If the driver fails to correct the violation and return the card to me in the allotted time period and signed off by an officer, they can be sent an infraction ticket for defective equipment. This can be used for other equipment violations as well.

“I seemed to always get the notices back when I explained the process to the driver.

“I think our troopers still use this method often but are under no obligation or directive that would limit them just issuing a citation at the time of the initial traffic stop. Some people get the message with a warning and some do not. That decision is left up to the individual officer. The citation is $124.

“Motorcycles do not present as much of a problem. They have much less surface area on the single rear tire and most street motorcycles use less aggressive tread patterns that do not hold rocks/mud nearly as bad.

“In addition, other than hard core motorcycle commuters, the number of motorcycles on the road is very low during the heavy rain months in Washington.”

He said WSP doesn’t involved itself with the compliability of vehicles at the time of sale. “Dealers and auto supply stores will sell you parts and accessories that may be illegal in any given state. The ‘buyer beware’ slogan is in effect for purchasers.

“Most common are lighting products, lighting covers and tinting, window tinting, exhaust systems and some suspension products,” he said.

When will Silverdale streets be restored?

The in basket: Ron Hammond and Sandra Rocha are among the many who wonder how much longer Silverdale streets will be torn up for water main replacement.

Ron said in an e-mail, “Right now, Silverdale Way is one of the worst streets in the county with all the bumps and metal plates. Will they be repaving all of Silverdale Way?”

Sandra wrote, “When will Kitsap County finish the construction at Silverdale Way? It’s been more than a year (ago) that they started the repair in this road, and have never finished. Looks like that every week they are doing a new repair, and sometimes at the same place where they have done before.

“I work at the mall,” she said, “and we are really disappointed and tired with so many bumps in this road. Last Monday, 10/20, around 6 p.m., after 15 minutes with rain, the road was completely flooded at Silverdale Way and Myhre Road, and I could not see the bumps.

“Silverdale has the heaviest traffic in Kitsap,” she said, “and I cannot understand why the authorities do not re-pave all the road from Old Town Silverdale until Waaga Way.”

The out basket: It’s actually an extensive water main replacement project by Silverdale Water District.  As I reported a couple of times in the spring, the trenched and repaired streets in Silverdale won’t be fully repaved, but will have to be restored to county standards when the work is done. A two-year bond will cover any deficiencies that arise after completion,

Morgan Johnson, general manager of the water district, says finish work with curbs, sidewalks, plantings, restoration of mailboxes and final paving of the patches will be done prior to Dec. 10, if the contractor can stay to its current schedule. But given the onset of bad weather, he said the district has given them a mandatory final date of Jan. 31.

He said the project is about two months behind schedule. Among the causes of delays were discovery of two old road beds beneath the existing one on Silverdale Way, which had to be cut through, discovery of leaking storm sewer lines the county came out to repair, and previously unlocated utilities , Morgan said.

The appearance of redoing some of the work resulted from having to close down work on Silverdale Way and shift to Anderson Hill Road and Bucklin Hill Road so the contractor could take advantage of the summer window when schools were closed and all the buses didn’t have to come and go on those roads

There will be more traffic disruption in the future. The water main placements will continue eastward up Bucklin Hill Road to about Albertsons from its present terminus at Blaine Avenue when the county builds the planned new bridge across the Clear Creek estuary. The water district expected that to happen this year, but the county delayed it a year.

A lot of the future work will be done at the same time as the bridge project closes Bucklin Hill Road for a year or so and so may not be distinguishable from that disruption. Morgan said the further water main work will be part of the county’s bridge contract, which also includes storm water mains.

In addition to replacing aging mains, the overall project includes installation of separate mains beneath the drinking water mains to carry reclaimed water from the Central Kitsap sewer treatment plant, when that water becomes available in a few years.

Skip Beahm of the water district said the new YMCA is plumbed to use the reclaimed water for toilets and irrigation, as is Harrison Hospital’s orthopedic wing. Morgan said he expects that to be part of future hospital construction as it moves to Silverdale from Bremerton, but that would be negotiated then.

Reader sees conflict at Lincoln Road bus lane

The in basket:  Ron Reynolds of Poulsbo, says he sees “a real safety concern at Lincoln and Caldart.

“As you head up LIncoln and want to take a right onto Caldart ,” he said, “you use the regular lane and there is a bus stop with a curb cut out. Invariably, people think that is the turn lane. People in the turn lane can find a right turner in the bus lane. They think it’s a turn lane.” He called it “a real wishy washing situation.”

The out basket: I don’t think “invariably” is the right word. While it looks like a conflict by side-by-side right turners is a definite possibility there, the cars I saw turn right when I visited the site used the proper lane.

Michael Bateman, senior engineering technician for the city of Poulsbo, says “The fog line on Lincoln continues to the end of the bus pull-out. Drivers that are not buses should not be in the bus lane at all – that would be an illegal maneuver that would include crossing the fog line.

“It is not a turn lane and is not signed or indicated as such. The bus pull-out is signed as a bus stop.  There should be no conflicts for drivers operating their vehicles in a legal manner following the rules of the road at that intersection.

 “In addition,” Michael said, “I have researched the (state’s) collision database for the City of Poulsbo from 2001 to present.  There are zero collisions listed … at the Lincoln/Caldart  intersection that involve the claimed issue at question.”

Jump in Illahee Road crashes brings attention, but not guard rails

The in basket: Nikolay Zagorov writes, “At least once or twice a year, vehicles have been loosing control at a 100-foot section at the beginning of Illahee Road northbound in East Bremerton. The place is just after the culvert before Fischer Park Avenue. Cars end at the bottom of a 12-foot sloped ditch, crushing into one of two yard fences or trees.

“Isn’t it high time to place a guard rail or lower the speed from 35 to 25 miles per hour,” he asked.

The out basket: Jeff Shea, Kitsap County traffic engineer, replies, “Traffic engineering staff completed a site investigation and collision record review of this location.  Despite the recent collisions here, the warrants (criteria) for guardrail here are not met.

“We use the same warrants as (the state) when we consider guardrail placement.  The warrants include traffic speed and volume, slope degree, and distance to obstacles in the right of way.

“Collision frequency is not a criteria considered in the warrants. When we reviewed collision history here, we did find three recent collisions. The last collisions before those were in 1997, and only one of the (recent) collisions involved an injury.

There has not been any significant changes to the roadway there that would readily explain why we went 16-plus years without a collision and had three this year. We continue to monitor this location,” he said.

 “One safety goal on all roads is keeping all objects out of the right of way that could hurt motorists.  A guardrail is considered an object in the right of way, and can cause injury or worse to motorists.

“The main purpose is to protect motorists from something that could possibly cause more harm than hitting the guardrail.  That is why we only install guardrail where it is warranted by accepted criteria.

“Based on the characteristics of the roadway, traffic speeds, and collision records, 35 mph is a safe and appropriate speed for this segment of Illahee Road.

“We continue to monitor this location, along with all county roads, in our biennial road safety program.

IRT truck patrols two counties, plus, here

The in basket:  At this year’s Puyallup Fair, I stopped and talked with Richard, who has what seems like an interesting and dangerous job keeping traffic moving on Highway 405 east of Seattle, driving an incident response truck

He had his truck with him at the state Department of Transportation display, a mammoth 10-cylinder pickup capable of pushing large vehicles out of the way of traffic when they are disabled.

In the bed of the pickup he had an assortment of detritus that he had hauled off the highways while on the job. He had put some of it to use, prying and such, he told me.

As common as they are in King and Pierce counties, Richard said there are no incident response trucks assigned to Kitsap County, though one might be sent here for a major accident or blockage.

I was surprised by that, as I was sure I had seen one on a highway around here at what clearly was an ordinary problem. And, sure enough, there it was Tuesday afternoon running interference along with a state trooper, protecting some poor devil changing a flat tire on the narrow shoulder of Highway 3 southbound heading into Gorst.

The out basket: Richard was wrong, it turns out. Doug Adamson of the Olympic Regions public affairs office sent me the following when I asked about it:

“One Incident Response Team (IRT) member is headquartered at the Port Orchard Maintenance office full-time. (That’s on Spring Creek Road just off Mullenix Road.)

“He patrols Pierce County north of the Tacoma Narrows, and all of Mason and Kitsap counties.  We also have several WSDOT maintenance staff who are trained to do Incident Response duties, and they can respond to an incident as needed.

“The Washington State Patrol requests IRT assistance for incidents in which a roadway is fully blocked or in other situations where traffic flow is impeded.  When not responding to an incident, IRT staff patrol their service areas, helping drivers whose vehicles have become disabled.”

An IRT vehicle, it said,:

  • Can pump and haul away 100 gallons of diesel fuel from a crashed semi-truck.
  • Can serve as a mobile communications center.
  • Carries numerous traffic control devices that divert vehicles away from incidents and collisions. The one I saw Tuesday had a large screen mounted on the back warning oncoming drivers with a yellow display.
  • Carries miscellaneous road-service supplies, including small amounts of gasoline to help drivers who have run out of gas, tools to help change flat tires, and jumper cables to jumpstart a dead battery.

 

Jerry Lowery has the assignment in Port Orchard and others in that office take the truck out when Jerry isn’t there. The job entails a split shift to cover morning and afternoon rush hours.

Doug also referred me to a Web site with more information (www.wsdot.wa.gov/operations/incidentresponse/) that includes this: “Four to 10 minutes of traffic congestion (depending on traffic volume) can result from every minute a lane remains blocked, so incidents must be detected and cleared as fast as possible to minimize the impact on congestion, especially during peak periods.”

 

 

 

Changes afoot at Shelton airport

The in basket: I’ll take a road trip to Shelton for this column, which is about as road-related as it will get. I hope it interests some readers. It’s about the changing face of Sanderson airfield, home for years to the Mason County Fair and Rodeo and the OysterFest, one of my favorite festivals.

The fairground improvements are due for demolition, possibly early next year and though it means a new location for the Oyster Fest and the rodeo, it may be the end of the fair.

A sign at the overflow parking area at this year’s OysterFest said it would be the site of the 2015 OysterFest. The event program showed the relationship between the old and new grounds, both on airport property and a half-mile apart.

A volunteer in the OysterFest information booth said the new site, an inactive airplane runway, will be an improvement over the old, which involves a long narrow approach road that made traffic control difficult.

Wendy Smith, deputy director of the port of Shelton, which owns both properties and Sanderson Field’s active airstrip in between, said a 50-year lease Mason County had for use of the fairgrounds area expired last December and the county quit paying the lease amounts in 2009. It also turned running the fair over to others that year.

She said the fairgrounds area is “designated aviation reserve. It’s supposed to be for aeronautic used only.” It may eventually be the site of aircraft hangars.

She said the rodeo has acquired a new site a distance north on Highway 101, but she didn’t know what the fair has planned.

County Commissioner Terri Jeffreys said she hadn’t heard of a new site for the fair, which the county no longer operates. She said the fair didn’t apply for a marketing grant for the coming year, as it has in the past.

She understands that the Skookum Rotary, which stages the mostly volunteer OysterFest, is looking for a permanent site and the inactive runway is to be just temporary.

Fair Board member Leilani Dixon said the last she heard no alternative land for the fair had been identified and that there is little land with the proper zoning for the fair. She referred me to the fair president, who didn’t call me back.

******

As an aside, on the way to Shelton, we saw dozens of tall piles of logging slash alongside Highway 3 between Grapeview and Agate Road.  Each was capped with a clear plastic sheet, which looked kind of like a yarmulke, covering only the peak of the pile beneath. We wondered about their purpose, as I suspect others who drive there do. They’d keep rain off only a portion of each pile.

The answer awaited us at the OysterFest, where the Department of Natural Resources had a booth.

One of the DNR employees said he lives near the piles and knows that keeping the core of the piles dry is all that is needed. When wet weather comes, the piles will be burned, with the dry cores ignited and producing enough heat to ensure destruction of the entire pile.

Signal replacement at Lebo & Old Wheaton questioned

The in basket: Luella Pellman asks, “Why did they take the stop light out near the hospital at Lebo and Cherry (in Bremerton) and put a four-way stop there?  Seems like a very busy corner for just stop signs.”

She wonders if the signal will be replaced.

The out basket: Not unless the corner gets a lot busier.

The old signal there had a lot of problems due to age, with intermittently non-functioning traffic detectors in the pavement sometimes creating long delays for those waiting for the signal to change.

In designing the improvements under way on Old Wheaton Way, “We completed an analysis of the intersection and found that (our criteria) did not require the signal to be there,” says Bremerton city street engineer Gunnar Fridriksson.  “Signals are expensive for installation, typically about $350K,” he said, “plus yearly maintenance and electrical expenses. So if we do not need them – we are removing them and saving those costs.

“We are installing new conduits, just as we did at Sixth and 11th on Pacific so should the signals be needed in the future, we do not need to tear up the roadway to construct it.”

The Road Warrior has been through the intersection several times since the signals were removed and I have found it to be an improvement, with little backup of traffic and no waiting for a signal to change. I’ve not been there at rush hour, but at mid-day, the all-way stop is very effective.

Gunnar also passed along an analysis of traffic signals that said they are not the panacea for all problems they’re often taken for. Among their shortcomings can be detouring traffic onto less-desirable streets when drivers try to avoid the signal, and rear-end collisions. You can see it yourself at http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/htm/2009/part4/part4b.htm#section4B02