Controversial new interchange ready for power outages

The in basket: Kevin Corcoran and Barb Frindell have the same concern (one of many) about the new interchange where highways 3 and 303 meet north of Silverdale.
As Kevin puts it in a comment on the Road Warrior blog at www.kitsapsun.com, “With the current layout, traffic flows in opposing lanes for a distance until you make a left turn. If there is a power outage and the signal lights are unlit, how would traffic proceed through the intersection?


The in basket: Kevin Corcoran and Barb Frindell have the same concern (one of many) about the new interchange where highways 3 and 303 meet north of Silverdale.
As Kevin puts it in a comment on the Road Warrior blog at www.kitsapsun.com, “With the current layout, traffic flows in opposing lanes for a distance until you make a left turn. If there is a power outage and the signal lights are unlit, how would traffic proceed through the intersection?
If the signals switch to a flashing pattern, how would traffic proceed through the intersection? In these situations, opposing cars would meet each other in the same lane and if there was an accident, who would be at fault if both drivers were in their properly marked lanes?” he asked. 
“With the current design of the overpass traffic patterns, it’s not if, but when, a serious accident occurs due to failure of the traffic signals to properly operate and direct traffic,” Kevin predicted. “Who will bear the legal costs of this design failure when there is a serious injury or death? I bet there are a few lawyers waiting in the wings to test these waters!
“Hopefully,” he concluded, “the designers of this maze have considered these problems and have an emergency generator installed to power the signal lights in the event of a power outage!”
The out basket: Complaints about the new interchange have spilled out of the Road Warrior column onto the Opinion Page and its blogs. I hardly have a conversation with a Central Kitsap resident that doesn’t include protestations of how awful it is, including the one at a party where Barb Frindell raised this question.
The news pages are next. Watch for an article by reporter Brynn Grimley’s on the simmering controversy in an upcoming issue of this paper.
For now, I’ll just answer the limited question about power outages. Project Engineer Brenden Clarke says they recognize the chaos that would result from drivers trying to guess one another’s next move at the signalized interchange if the signals are dark.
The lights will be backed up by a generator that will kick in automatically and keep the signals operating if the power fails, he said.

8 thoughts on “Controversial new interchange ready for power outages

  1. Ha! Mister RW– YOU are doomed to explain, and RE-explain—over and over, and again and again– this mess! As much as you “like” it, the horrific 303/3/SW “interchange” will NEVER be even remotely accepted by the drivers who use it most (they have no choice). We’d love for you — for once– admit your hatred for it. It’s okay… we’ll back you up!

  2. I had to write after reading about all the bad press about the interchange. I think it’s wonderful.

    After living on Clear Creek for 18 years, I am thrilled to not have to hold my breath each time we would pass Waaga Way. I have had a few very close near misses and my son was involved in an accident there which, thankfully, only totalled his car and no one was hurt.

    Going off and on Clear Creek is almost as easy as it was, especially since they adjusted the light, which seems very prompt to cars waiting.

    I think people are finally getting the flow of things and I believe more people like the interchange, than don’t. The unhappy ones are usually the loudest.

    It is good to know that a generator is at hand for power outages! Thanks for the info.

    BTW: I wish the county would re-evaluate the Mountain View/ Clear Creek cross road speed zone. The Bangor gate is closed now. But my major concern is that if you are heading North on Clear Creek it is legally 50 mph through the cross road.

    When we moved in, the speed zone ahead sign was well in advance of the intersection. Now the warning sign is where the speed zone sign originally was and the actual speed zone starts after you pass Mountain View!

    We’ve had to call 911 on several occasions because of accidents in the past and I’m afraid we’ll have a serious one if the zone isn’t pushed back.

    I have contacted the county, recieved an email last spring or summer, but that was about it.

  3. I agree with Susan completely!
    The people happy with the new exchange don’t have anything to talk about so they are never heard from.
    I use the exchange on a daily basis and couldn’t be happier with it. It did take a bit of getting used to since I have never seen a design like it before, but the improvement over the old delays is immeasureable, especially during commute times.
    Thank You Brenden Clarke!

  4. I, too, use the interchange daily and think it is a much better interchange that what it replaced.

    The haters just need to get over it.

  5. And the time delay, between a true power outage, (without the little burps so common in such an outage,) and the generator automatically starting, resuming power, and the lights re-synchronizing would be…?

    In a four-way stop, one should yield to the vehicle to the right, assuming both vehicles arrive at the same time.
    What is the rule when it’s a two-way stop, and traffic is opposing, hmmm?
    Sounds like state-sponsored “Chicken”, doesn’t it?

  6. Well, I have finally witnessed first-hand the potential for disaster on the new Highway 3 interchange this evening. Just past 7:30 p.m.
    I was traveling on Kitsap Mall Blvd., heading for the on-ramp for Hwy. 3 North. As I came to the left-turn signal, I watched helplessly as the car in front of me turned left onto the exit ramp from Hwy. 3 South. All I could do was just honk my horn, hoping it would get the driver’s attention.
    After the car went about 20 feet down the exit ramp, the driver hit the brakes as he saw a vehicle coming right toward him, in the same lane.
    Of course, I could not stop to do anything. As I entered the on-ramp headed north, I saw the vehicle backing up, trying to get off the exit ramp. It was a near-miss that could have resulted in a tragic turn of events.

    As so many readers have already said, this interchange is a disaster waiting to happen. I am angry that somebody could have been seriously hurt or worse tonight because of this fiasco. Whomever signed off on this project should be ashamed of themselves.

    People get hurt every day for poor driving or impaired driving ability. But when (not if, but when) someone gets hurt or worse because of the confusing nature of this asinine interchange, then those who signed off on it will be the parties responsible. I find it incomprehensible that anybody with any common sense would have approved this ill-fated project.

  7. Last night on the way home I was traveling south on my motorcycle at about 11:15 p.m., coming from the Bangor Main Gate. I was in the fast lane passing slower traffic when I noticed a pickup truck stopped on the off-ramp to
    Silverdale Way/Waaga Way flashing his brake lights.
    I had just passed a car and moved back into the slow lane when a car passed by me. He was traveling north in the southbound fast lane!
    I was very surprised! So
    were co-workers of mine who had to dodge the northbound intruder.
    Once the car in error had some breathing room, it turned around, to head south. I can only surmise that the car made the wrong turn on the
    overpass.

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