Highway 303 center barrier again source of vegetation complaint

The in basket: Joanne Zellinsky of Bremerton writes, “Do you suppose you could look into why no one is maintaining the medians on Highway 303?

“There is moss and grass growing everywhere and some of the bushes are obstructing views. There is even grass growing in the middle of the intersection of McWilliams and 303.

“I would think it would be the responsibility of either the state or county. Either way, no one is looking,” she said.

The out basket: It’s the state’s job, and they may be able to clean it this fall, says Duke Stryker, head of the state’s maintenance crews in this area. But they have higher priorities, including repair of washouts on the Purdy spit where this year’s “king tides” did some damage, some sink holes on Highway 300 near Belfair and, of course, the summer asphalt repair work.

Barrier cleaning must be done at night for the most part, he said, to minimize interference with traffic, except those approaching the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, where they have ample shoulder room to do it during the day. They don’t just use their mechanical sweepers, but have workmen on foot dislodging the hard stuff.

They put crews on at night beginning in November, providing manpower to sweep. But even then, higher speed and volume highways like 3 and 16 take precedence over 303. And freezing nights occupy the night crew putting out sand and deicer.

If they get to 303’s barriers, they’ll do the growth on the top as well as the bases where traffic pushes sand and dirt, Duke said. There is no growth on top of most of the other barriers for which they bear responsibility.

In short, the Highway 303 barrier may or may not be cleaned this year. It was last done in 2010, when Joanne’s husband, Paul, a former state legislator, was among those who complained about their condition.

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