Explaining the work in downtown Port Orchard


The in basket: I’ve been watching the work in downtown Port Orchard over the past month, sure that it would begin to make sense in time. I’d read that the pre-paving work was leading to new signals at Bay and Sidney, wheelchair-friendly curb cuts where there have been none, and city of Port Orchard utility work to avoid digging in the new pavement once it was laid. 

But no bases for the new light poles were evident and the torn up portions of sidewalk sat unrepaired for weeks. The signal at Bay and Sidney behaved strangely. After a start on the repaving at the Gorst end, nothing more happened for several days. 

And I came to wonder if the Sidewalk Closed signs at the torn-up ramp sites bore the same force of law as Road Closed signs – could a person be cited for ignoring them and walking through the closed area?

The out basket: Last things first, city Police Chief Al Townsend says a person wouldn’t be cited for ignoring the Sidewalk Closed signs, which are posted to reduce city liability. If a person walked through wet concrete or otherwise damaged something by crossing through the closed area, they might be arrested for something else, like vandalism, he said. 

Erik Cristopherson of Ace Paving, general contractor on the job, said the sidewalk restoration has been delayed by inability of his concrete subcontractor to get state approval of needed paperwork, so Ace will do that phase of the work. He hopes it will be completed the week of Sept. 8, he said. He originally expected the new ramps to have been done long before this, he said.

Field inspector Tom Barton of the state project office said the bases for the new signal poles that will replace the current wire-hung signals will be poured soon. They’re a little more complicated than in other locations due to the potential for sub-soil water intrusion along Bay Street, he said. 

The signals are on timers because the in-pavement traffic detectors have been severed by the utility work done by the city. They will remain so until the repaving downtown is complete. The timers don’t always match traffic demands. 

The paving through the downtown core will be preceded by two nights of grinding out the old pavement. West of town, where there are no storm drains, the new pavement is simply being laid over the old.

The first paving near Gorst was two test sections to be evaluated by the state. Ace was cleared for production paving in the last week. The weather in late August interfered as well. 

Tom said he hopes it will all be wrapped up, except for installation of the new signal poles at Bay and Sidney, by the end of September. The repaving will end at Blackjack Creek.





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