She said, he said at McWilliams Road ditching site

The in basket: A couple of days after I was channeled past the  the recent McWilliams Road ditching project for CenturyLink, just east of Highway 303, a woman reader had the same experience. It wasn’t much of a problem for either of us. But after her second time through, she told a different story in a phone call to the Sun’s newsroom.


As editor David Nelson related the conversation to me, she turned onto McWilliams on December 9 and said the flagger had completely shut down the road with no detour signs or warning. Her complaint was that the guy was a jerk when she pulled into a driveway to get pointed the other way, and that any Walgreen’s customer was unable to turn into the store’s parking lot. And that anyone headed to Illahee had a six-mile detour with no warning. David said the question in his mind is what notice is required when you close a road like that. “I’m assuming that notice or detour signs are required in any roadwork contract,” he said, ” but what happens when a company doesn’t fulfill the requirement?”


I asked the county if full closure of McWilliams was permissible under whatever permit the county had issued for the work. It is listed on the county’s weekly road work report, which anyone can see online at, but there is no mention of a total closure.


The out basket: Dale Blackwood, lead right-of-way inspector for Kitsap County Public Works, said, “I checked with the contractor regarding your reader’s concern. They did recall the incident with the woman, who was frustrated with the delay and vocalized her frustration to the contractor.

“Contrary to her report, the road was never completely closed,” Dale said. “The entrance to the Walgreen’s was closed during the work and that seemed to frustrate your reader, but the other entrance to Walgreen’s (off Highway 303) was open.

“Because of the high volume of traffic there, and the proximity to the very busy intersection of McWilliams and Highway 303, there were significant delays for motorists passing through the work area.


“Under the permit issued for this type of work, temporary closures of a roadway are permissible,” he said. “If the closure exceeds 12 hours, it must be approved and authorized by the Board of County Commissioners. Cannon Construction, (which is doing the work for CenturyLink, “has always proved reliable in observing permit restrictions in the work they’ve done along county-maintained rights-of-way,” Dale said.

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