Monthly Archives: October 2009

Why are they digging up new paving on Sedgwick?

The in basket: Robert Pilger of Long Lake Road in South Kitsap e-mailed to say, “I have noticed road workers digging up the new pavement in several places along the Sedgwick Road project after recently striping. Why, and if (they are) fixing mistakes or oversights, who is responsible for the money?”

The out basket: It is common in paving jobs to pave over utility accesses and return to uncover them, build them up to the new pavement level and seal around the accesses. That is what is happening on Sedgwick Road, says Brenden Clarke, project engineer for state projects here.

Usually that occurs between the paving and the striping, but Brenden says, “We had the striping done before the adjustments were all complete to take advantage of favorable weather.  The way the forecast looks now, we would be striping next May if we had waited to put down pavement markings after the utility adjustments were all complete.  The impacts to pavement markings should be minimal. “

Newberry Hill Road at Klahowya school called perilous

The in basket: Traci Stevens of Seabeck writes, “Every day, I travel, as do many others, along Newberry Hill Road and past Klahowya (Secondary School’s) entrance to start and end the work day.

“This area, throughout the year, also includes bus loads of middle/high school children, teenage drivers, teachers, parents traveling to and leaving during the school day, as well as countless after school activities, a church with a sizable attendance, not to mention the residents of the neighborhood across the street from Klahowya’s entrance.  

“All of this activity in an area that handles significant amounts of traffic in either direction, turn lanes going into the school and into the neighborhood across the street, a merge lane and a 45 mph speed limit, which very few abide by. I’ve actually been passed in this area! 

“I also understand the consideration of the surrounding area (1,000 acres) to be possibly converted to a multi-use area known as Newberry Hill Heritage Park. 

“Today (Oct. 8), I learned of another significant traffic accident and I know of one additional accident that involved an acquaintance that totaled the car, I’m sure there have been countless others.

“I understand the county has been out to view the traffic flows; however, they come during the quiet times, after school is in session and most have begun the work day, which was a complete waste of time. What does it take to get authorities to pay attention to this area for consideration of a traffic signal?”

Traci’s friend, Holly Woomer, who was in that other accident that totaled her car when a speeding driver who said he was late for work didn’t see her in time, seconds Traci’s sentiments. She asks for a speed limit reduction if not a traffic signal. 

“Attempting to cross the crosswalk at the intersection is also very dangerous,” Holly said. “You basically have to be in the middle of the road before somebody will stop.” 

The out basket: Jeff Shea, Kitsap County traffic engineer, says better lighting at the intersection is the most they’ll do for now.

“We recently reviewed this location because the crosswalk seemed a little difficult to see in the dark,” he said. “We are considering the feasibility of installing an additional street light at the intersection to improve visibility at the crosswalk. This is the only improvement being considered there at this time.

 “We do not plan to install a signal there any time in the foreseeable future,” he said. “It does not currently meet any of the (standards) used to determine if an intersection needs a  signal. 

“We will consider proposing an improvement project in next year’s Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), but I don’t think it will score as a high priority against the other county road projects on the TIP. TIP projects are ranked based on road preservation, safety, and capacity. 

“Compared to other intersections,” he said, “the accident history here would not merit many priority points, other than a couple for ‘potential’ safety points. “(Also) signals are rarely installed for safety reasons. (They) won’t always reduce accidents and sometimes actually increase some types of accidents, particularly rear–end collisions.

 “Cost-benefit is another issue to consider with limited funding available for improvements,” he said. “Signals are very expensive ($300,000 – $500,000) to install. Outside of the short congested times mentioned by your reader there have not been any problems reported. If (an) improvement is needed for a short time during the day the cost would be very high with a relatively low benefit.

 “Newberry Hill Road is an arterial road. The goal of an arterial road  is to safely move traffic from one place to another at higher speeds than local access or residential roads. 

“One of the main starting points for determining a posted speed limit,” h said, ” is the speed that captures a majority of the traffic, which we refer to as the 85 percentile speed for traffic on that road.” (Eighty-five percent of drivers who use the road in speed studies travel at or below that speed.)

“We also consider roadway geometrics, adjacent land use, collision records, pedestrian use, bicycles, and parking practices as part of setting speed limits.

“Current conditions on Newberry Hill Road show a very low accident rate and do not indicate a need to reduce the speed limit,” Jeff concluded.

Wal-Mart turn light in SK needs a green phase

The in basket: Janet Brown wrote back in early September to say the traffic signal on Bethel Avenue allowing left turns into the South Kitsap Wal-Mart leaves something to be desired. 

“It needs a green arrow,” she said. “The left turn arrow never turns green and traffic is so heavy that you are stuck there for a couple of lights. People are running the red light to be able to turn.

The Road Warrior’s wife said she’s pretty sure the light had a protected green phase last Christmas.

The out basket: This is one of the many South Kitsap signals the county revised last year to provide a flashing yellow for left turns when on-coming traffic has a green light. The flashing yellow means the same thing as the signs that used to say turning left was legal on a green ball light but only after yielding to any oncoming traffic that is close. 

But most of them provide a protected green arrow signal right after the through lights turn green, offering a short time before the yellow flashing light takes over when left turners don’t have to worry about oncoming traffic because it has a red light. 

Doug Bear of Kitsap County Public Works says, “Your observation, and (your wife’s), is correct. There was, and should be, an initial protected green phase when a vehicle is detected waiting to turn. We are working to identify and correct the problem. Thanks for the heads up!”

That was on Sept. 18, and the problem remains. “There have been a few higher priority projects emerge,” Doug said Oct. 22. “We hope to get to that this week or next. We are hoping it is something easily remedied. If not, it could be a little longer before the work is done.”




Illahee Road missing a speed limit sign

The in basket: Jim Baker writes, “Just wondering about a recently missing speed limit sign. 

“Northbound on Illahee Road just past the Brownsville Elementary School and Utah Street there used to be a sign restoring the speed limit to 35 mph from 25 mph. It went missing a week or so ago. It is still 35 mph on southbound Illahee from Brownsville Highway almost to Utah – if that’s 35, I can’t imagine that the limit northbound along there should be 25. Makes no sense.”

The out basket: Jeff Shea, Kitsap County traffic engineer says, “There should be a 35 mph sign in that area.” Since the question was posted on the Road Warrior blog at in late October, the county has replaced the missing one. 

Doug Bear, public spokesman for public works, adds, “With over 900 miles of county-maintained roads, our crews can’t be everywhere, We count on reports from residents like your reader. You can report missing signs by calling Kitsap 1 (360-337-5777, formerly called the county’s Open Line) or sending email to

“Reporting downed stop signs is critical,” he adds. “You can report them to Kitsap 1 during regular working hours (Monday through Friday, 8:00 – 4:30.) After hours or on weekends report downed stop signs by calling 9-1-1. Report all other downed signs to Kitsap 1.”

Motorcyclist decries Central Valley Road condition


Central Valley pot holes
Central Valley pot holes

The in basket: Mitch Hailey of Bremerton e-mailed two weeks ago to protest the condition of Central Valley Road, including with his message several photographs of ruts and pot holes left by a sewer excavation between Alexis Drive and Holland Road. 

“While riding my motorcycle on this road and with no warning, I found myself having to dodge one danger after another and coming very close to dumping my bike,” Mitch said.

“Having just survived a crash where an irresponsible dog owner allowed their pet to play in the roadway unrestrained, I am very sensitive to preventable dangers placing others at risk.  Someone needs to be providing oversight of these construction projects for safety’s sake.”

The out basket:  Jacques Dean, Kitsap County’s project manager and the overseer of this county project by Buno Construction, said he sent the contractor copies of Mitch’s photos and ordered that more attention be paid the condition of the road after each day’s work.

The workers are to make a daily patch of the road they disturb that day, Jacques said, but weren’t taking enough time raking out the hot asphalt mix before it was rolled. Rain and traffic produced the conditions in Mitch’s photos.

The work the day after Mitch wrote was a lot better, Jacques said. 

Since then, two readers have disagreed. 

On Oct.27, Sheldon Cherrey wrote, “Well,  I traveled that road last night. The road is worse than the  

last time I drove it. Possibly due to the rain “

And Louis Oliver wrote Saturday to say he found “that a forest service road that has not seen a grader in over two years would be the smoother of the two. If it is the county that is doing the repairs after the pipe is replaced, the job should be out-sourced. If a contractor is doing the job, they should be fined and replaced. Then I wonder who should pay for my dental work? Yes, it is that bad.”


Tina Nelson of the county, filling in for Jacques, who was away from work last week, had this to say about the latest complaints:

“Last week the contractor was directed to spend more time (and money …) on maintaining the patch.  I drove it yesterday, and I thought it was an acceptable patch at the time. 

“The catch is that the patch is only temporary,” she said. “The same trench needs to be dug up again to install the new force main, starting the second week of November, over the gravity sewer that has already been installed.  It is our intent to keep the patch safe, but at the same time be cost conscious. 

“If travelers go slow, allow the extra few minutes, or use an alternate route, we will not be forced to spend additional precious dollars on a temporary patch.  

 “Patience,” she urged. The final product, when the sewer installation is complete, will be like a brand new road surface.  Permanent restoration in Central Valley Road is currently scheduled to start in mid-December, which includes final asphalt paving.  Asphalt paving, of course, is weather dependent.”   




How about using inactive Keyport signal elsewhere?

The in basket: Harry Godwin of Bremerton commented on the September Road Warrior about why the traffic signal at Highway 308 at Central Valley Road had been blinking red and yellow.

“The answer was that a new switch was required

for this intersection (and) that this could be a funding

problem as replacement of the switch was not in the budget,” Harry recalled.

“Just a short distance from this intersection is an inactive traffic signal

that once controlled traffic in and out of a side gate to (the) Keyport

naval base. The gate is closed and barricaded, indicating that in the post-911 years, the gate will never be used as a point of egress to the base


 Harry suggested the state use that light and/or its controls at 308 and Central Valley.

The out basket: Actually, says Don Anders of the Olympic Region signal shop, that answer was that “we may have to replace this unit, but our crew was able to make repairs and the cabinet has not been in flash since these repairs were made. 

“I also mentioned that the cost of a replacement was prohibitive at this time, but if we could come up with a good reliable used unit we would replace this unit.  

“I know that early next year we have a project on SR 161(in Pierce County) that will free up a cabinet that we can use at this location,” he said.  

“The cabinet that Harry points out belongs to the Department of the Navy and is not ours to use, and I know from past practice that the military does not give up inventory easily.”  

 “We have not had any problems since the repair was made and I feel we can get by until next year when we can replace the cabinet.” 

Two ‘Your Speed Is…’ signs draw comment

The in basket: Ian MacKenzie and Don Baker have sent in questions about a pair of electronic signs that tell drivers their speed when they pass. 

Ian says about the sign that was on Silverdale Way just south of Byron Street, “I think it  is a great tool and I am sure it has greatly reduced speeds in the area. 

But whenever he has seen such a thing elsewhere, it always has had a speed limit sign attached, he said. 

“What good is a sign telling you how fast you are going if you don’t know what the speed limit is?” he asked, noting that the closest speed limit sign is back near Byron. “If you missed  it, you are out of luck before they are telling you how fast you are  going.”

Don is among hundreds, I’m sure, including me, who wonder if the City of Port Orchard’s similar sign half way down Mile Hill ever will be working again.

The out basket: After Ian asked his question, the county moved the electronic Silverdale sign, as they said they might when they put it in. It’s on Salmonberry Road in South Kitsap now.

“This sign is only a loaner from a vendor,” says Callene Abernathy of the county public works department.  “It has proven somewhat

effective and we have received mostly positive feedback.  At this point

we are going to have to decide if they are effective enough to warrant

the $10,000 cost, and also how we would deploy them (i.e. permanent mount

vs. relocatable installs).  

“If we were to purchase our own signs, we would definitely put them on longer poles, so a speed limit sign could be mounted on the sign,” Callene said.

Commander Geoffrey Marti of Port Orchard police says the sign on Mile Hill has quit working but they won’t leave it that way. They’ve ordered some parts for it, but it is not something the city is required to do, so it has a lower priority than some other things, especially when money is tight, he said.


Don prefaced his question about the speed sign by giving the county and its contractor a pat on the back for the recent work on Lake Flora Road. He called it “an outstanding job and done ahead of schedule, I think. If you have not been there you should take a ride and see the nice job,” he suggested.



Repaving at Ioka Way left a hard bump

The in basket: Jo Ann Ambur writes, “A few weeks ago a road above ours was repaved (on Ioka Drive out of Silverdale) and the work crew and all their warning signs are long gone. The problem is they did not smooth the transition from that part of the county road onto Ioka Way, which is also a county road.

“We are left with a drop of a few inches onto our road. How do we get that problem solved?”

The out basket: The reason for this problem is the same as for earlier ones about which the Road Warrior was asked this year, including a similar bump on Vena Avenue at Central Valley Road, shoulder drop-offs at a repaved stretch of Ogle Road near Brownsville and the restriping of white lines but not yellow ones on some Central Kitsap roads. The county stages its work to do one thing at a time for efficiency, then returns to do finish work. If the Ioka bump hasn’t been corrected, it soon will be. 

“Approach work is always completed after the paving,” says Doug Bear of Kitsap County Public Works. “As always this type of work depends on weather, equipment and staff availability. We are aware of the work needed there and will get it completed soon.”

Change proposed on Washington at Sixth

The in basket: Gale Brown has a different take on the situation on Washington Avenue in Bremerton heading south, where two lanes of traffic must merge very quickly into one just south of Sixth Street. Gale says, “I would like to see the outside lane of southbound Washington at Sixth be changed to a right-turn only.

“This would improve traffic flow on to Sixth for those heading for the ferry,” he said, “and would eliminate the frustrations often caused by the forced merge immediately south of the intersection.”

The out basket: It could happen. Larry Matel of the city street engineers says, “The public works department is planning on doing a traffic circulation plan for the downtown area in 2010.  “This will look at operational changes on the street system that are now possible because of the traffic changes created by the opening of the tunnel. We have had other requests for changes and instead of doing them ‘piece meal’, and then only having to do them over again as a result of another issue that might need addressing, we have decided to look at the big picture and then make changes.”

Do we really have to do 10 mph in Silverdale turn?

The in basket:  Peggy and Pat Tillery send an e-mail about a sign on westbound Highway 303 approaching the new urban interchange with Highway 3 in Silverdale, asking “Why is there a yellow 10 mph sign approaching the on-ramp when coming from Waaga Way, where you slow down to 35 and then get ready to head north on Highway 3 at that horrible interchange in Silverdale? 

“The on-ramp heading north on Highway 3 from that point,” their e-mail said, ” is tricky enough without having to slow down to 10 mph only to have to pick up speed to hit Highway 3 going north. Did they just forget to remove the sign when they constructed that area?”

The out basket: No, that is an advisory sign, suggesting a safe speed for making the turn onto the northbound on-ramp to Highway 3. It is not mandatory, as a black on white speed limit sign would be. It apparently anticipates a tall unstable vehicle that might tip over going faster than that. 

In a passenger car, I’ve found that going 10 miles per hour faster than any advisory speed sign I’ve ever encountered will get you through the turn or whatever the obstacle is safely. The 10 mph sign is an excess of caution that drivers of small vehicles normally can disregard.

But even if you choose to drop to 10 mph there, there’s lots of room on the on-ramp to get up to 60 mph for freeway driving, if your car is operating properly.