Sedgwick work disappoints this reader

The in basket: “Is that all there is?” asks Bill Slach of South Kitsap in an e-mail that echoes Peggy Lee’s musical question of a few decades ago.

“The grading and paving of the portion of Sedgwick Road just east of Highway 16 seems nearly complete,” he said. “Is that all they are doing? Why no turn lanes for the intersecting streets? They have lots of room on the south side of the road to extend the paving. It’s as if they didn’t widen the road at all.”

He told of a car stalled “going up the hill from the intersection and right after the wide part narrows down. With oncoming traffic there wasn’t enough room to get around unless you waited for a break,” he said. “The car was as far to the right as possible which would have been on the bike, walking, or shoulder lane but it wasn’t enough.  All that money and they didn’t improve the street but a few inches, if that.” Bill said.

The out basket: It probably will be better when the project is complete, with some gravel on the shoulders beyond the pavement providing some extra width, but other than that, what you see is what you’ll get.

It became quite an issue last year when Don Ryan, Darlene Piper, Tom Myers, Jim Avery and other owners of property on or near Sedgwick on that side of Bethel Avenue mounted an eleventh-hour attempt to modify the project plans to add turn lanes, at their expense. State officials said such a change would have required that they reopen the environmental review process and they went ahead with the original plans. Project Engineer Brenden Clarke explains it this way: 

“With the limited funds for the project, the turn lanes were only added to the intersections on the east side of Bethel that have experienced the highest number of accidents.  The intersections in that area have much higher volumes of turning traffic.  

“The area between Highway 16 and Bethel does get widened shoulders and slope flattening that allows drivers to see stopped or slow traffic.  The odds would have been much higher that the disabled car would have been struck had it not been for the recent improvements that have been made to the highway. 

“I agree that turn lanes would have been nice throughout the project, but funds did not allow them to be constructed as a part of this project,” Brenden said. “We are doing the most improvements possible with the available funding.”

I also asked Brenden if there would be any work outside the orange mesh barriers along the highway between Jackson Avenue and Long Lake Road.

He said no, but the highway will be widened at Phillips Road to accommodate a left turn lane and there will be some widening at Long Lake Road to improve the turn radius from Long Lake to westbound Sedgwick.

You can read more about the project on line at www.wsdot.wa.gov/projects/sr160/sr16_longlake/. Among the information there is the total price tag – $8.24 million. The contractor is being paid $3.15 million, which is the amount shown on the signs at each end of the project. The rest includes $3.25 million to buy right of way for this work and future expansion – $100,000 more than the construction contract. Design, engineering and environmental mitigation are also included, Brenden says.

One thought on “Sedgwick work disappoints this reader

  1. Travis,

    Thanks for the response. I appreciate your efforts to get to the bottom of things even if I think the answer from the state is a cop-out. Why aren’t environment reviews done with future options included since we all know that change and growth will come.

    It still seems obvious when one drives the road that the bottleneck just before the turn is too narrow and the turn too sharp. At that point, there really isn’t any shoulder at all. There are relatively new housing projects in the Piperberry area so old data would not reflect the potential for accidents should more houses be built there.

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