The in basket: Jeff Paskett suggested when I encountered him at his South Park Rexall store that I probably could tell him what is going on at the Burnham Drive interchange on Highway 16 in Gig Harbor.
I had to tell him I couldn’t, but that I’d been wondering the same thing myself.
The out basket: I went online and it didn’t take long to find a description of the $6.4 million project on the Web site of Gig Harbor Public Works, which is supervising the work. Woodworth & Co. is the contractor. It’s all largely being paid for by mitigation payments by developers in that area, notably the owners of St. Anthony’s Hospital.
According to the Web site, the main improvements will be:
- Widening the state’s small roundabout on the west side of Highway 16 (near Sehmel Drive) from one lane to two.
- Adding a “slip lane” from Canterwood Boulevard to the Highway 16 westbound on-ramp (to Bremerton), to let vehicles bypass the large roundabout and “slip” onto Highway 16 to Bremerton. St. Anthony’s is on Canterwood, so travel from the hospital to the freeway westbound will be easier. In picturing this, remember that the state insists that Highway 16 is an east-west highway because that’s the direction it runs on the Tacoma side of the Narrows. On the Kitsap Peninsula it runs north-south but the references still are to east and west.
- Adding a slip lane from the Highway 16 westbound off-ramp to Burnham Drive, which will allow vehicles to exit westbound Highway 16, bypass the large roundabout and slip onto Burnham Drive.
- Adding another lane to both Highway 16 off-ramps that exit from Tacoma and exit from Bremerton. That’s the reason to go to two lanes on the west side roundabout.
The Web site doesn’t mention it, but the work also will widen both the east- and westbound on-ramps to two lanes at the roundabouts, but they will taper to a single lane entering the freeway, says Project Engineer Marcos McGraw
Work began in August, he said, and will take a year. They’re having to build some large walls to contain the construction.
The Web site includes a drawing of the completed work. Go to www.cityofgigharbor.net/page.php?id=759 to take a look.