Is access road from Belfair Bypass really needed?

The in basket: Greg Tyree writes, “Part of the holdup on the Belfair bypass is where to put an access road to Belfair from the bypass, and my question/concern is why have one, especially at $10 million-plus. I feel access to Belfair could be served by the existing routes currently in place. Use the millions proposed  for an access road to lower the total cost.”


The in basket: Greg Tyree writes, “Part of the holdup on the Belfair bypass is where to put an access road to Belfair from the bypass, and my question/concern is why have one, especially at $10 million-plus. When traveling south on Highway 3 it takes two to three minutes from Lake Flora Road (where the by-pass will originate) to the center of Belfair (if there is such a thing). While traveling north, say from Allyn, it takes less than three minutes from North Mason High School while traveling at posted speeds. 
“Doing a little elementary math,” Greg said. “I estimate the access road will take two to three minutes to get into Belfair.  I feel access to Belfair could be served by the existing routes currently in place. Use the millions proposed  for an access road to lower the total cost.”
The out basket: Greg didn’t specify which access road he means, but Eric Yates, of the project planning team. said the only one of several that were considered that approached $10 million to build is off the table. It would have run from the bypass to Clifton Lane.
Eric said that Greg’s travel time estimates are fairly accurate – today – at non-peak hours. But the state wants to make sure that traffic flows freely in and
around Belfair not just on the day the bypass opens, but for at least
20 years afterward.
“Once growth rates (which are anticipated to be high, according to county estimates) and traffic volumes are projected out 12 years,” Eric said, “the section of existing SR 3 through Belfair from Lake Flora Road to (North Shore Road) will reach gridlock. This (is) eight years short of the required service life. Other means of getting traffic around this short section of existing SR 3 are then needed.”
Mason County has is in its own road plan a bypass along Newkirk Road to Old Belfair Highway, to remove vehicles going to Old Belfair Highway and out North Shore Road from that traffic.
The county would pay for that new link, he said, and the state doesn’t plan to do any connections along the bypass at its own expense.
Romance Hill Road could become such an access connection for between $1 million-$2 million, he said, which would include traffic signals at each end. That, too, would have to be paid for by the county or private parties, he said.
The plans provide for three other potential intersections along the bypass route, at mile intervals, including a crossing for existing Alta Road. But the others would be up to private sources to complete and probably wouldn’t run all the way to today’s Highway 3 through downtown, he said.

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