The in basket: Paul Morton, who lives on Bandix Road east of the Burley-Olalla Road intersection project on Highway 16 wonders when it will be done and he can get on and off the freeway there again.
I’d been wondering the same thing, since the work has dropped out of sight behind the safety barriers since the contractor and state announced they were way ahead of schedule, opened the lanes over the new bridges and returned the speed limit to 60 mph. I couldn’t tell if perhaps something had gone wrong and the work had slowed or stopped.
And a blogger on the Road Warrior blog at kitsapsun.com asks if the bump as one crosses onto the freeway bridge heading toward Tacoma will be eliminated.
The out basket: Project Engineer Brenden Clarke of the state highway department says work has continued at its stepped-up pace. “In fact, Ceccanti (the contractor) has been working long shifts, including Saturdays, to complete the work to reconfigure the on- and off-ramps to their final profile,” he said.
Those ramps were used for the freeway traffic while the new bridges were built. Since the speed limit went back up, large portions of the ramps “were re-graded along with Burley-Olalla Road to (give) Burley-Olalla a smooth profile and have the ramps come to an angle point as they will come to a stop,” he said. “The slopes off of the ramps were re-graded after removing about six feet of pavement that was used for the detour.”
“In addition,” Brenden said, “the contractor had a short window to
complete stream re-alignments into the structures that were
constructed as a part of this project to remove two ‘fish barrier’
culverts. This work had to be done during August.”
By using the ramps to keep the freeway traffic flowing, albeit at 40 mph, they cut nine months and about a million dollars off the cost of the work, he said.
They have scheduled an opening ceremony for Oct. 7 at 10 a.m. and “hope to be able to open the new interchange after the ceremony,” he said. The final paving of the southbound through lanes is scheduled for tonight and Friday, Sept. 17-18, and will remove the bump at the bridge.
Paul works in Bremerton, and has been using the Mullenix intersection or going into Purdy and doubling back during the closure. Even happier about the reopening of access to Burley-Olalla Road at the freeway, I would imagine, will be all those people who live near the intersection and come and go each day from Gig Harbor or Tacoma. They have been forced down into Purdy where the overworked Highway 302 traffic signal was backing up Key Peninsula traffic even before the Burley-Olalla vehicles got added to the mix.