Monthly Archives: November 2013

What’s the holdup on 303-Ridgetop signal job?

The in basket: Tom Wisniewski asks, “What is taking so long with the traffic light installation on Ridgetop at Highway 303?  “When you compare the scope of work there with what was accomplished on Bucklin Hill Road this summer, the Ridgetop project seems to be stuck in idle.

“There has been a sign for months about night work at this exit but I have only seen anybody working at night three times at best.

“Now the county website says the contractor is waiting on material.  I would think the new light would have been ordered before any construction started.  This seems to be a very poorly planned/executed project,” Tom said.

The out basket: Delays in getting the metal poles and cross-arms for any project that includes street lights or traffic signals are so predictable it would be more surprising if they didn’t hold up a project.

I’ve asked the reason and whether ordering them way in advance would help, but I don’t really understand what I have been told. Evidently having them lie around in a storage yard waiting to be installed has some negative bearing on warranties.

I asked if the signal project is behind schedule.

Jacques Dean, the county’s construction manager, says, “Signal poles are the primary hold up, as they are long lead items and are backlogged.  They are scheduled to arrive late this month.

“In addition, there was a back order for the water quality units. The units did arrive Nov. 6, and the contractor has begun to install them.  Following installation of the vaults, the contractor will complete all remaining curb/gutter and sidewalk.

“The pavement striping sub-contractor is scheduled to begin installing plastic pavement markings (now).  Application of this material is weather sensitive…pavement must be dry…so this will be hit-and-miss work.  They will, more than likely, have to complete the work in several steps, as weather permits.

“Following installation of pavement markings, the project will be in a hold pattern until the signal poles arrive.  I anticipate the project being complete the first or second week in December.

“The contractor is within the 60 working days allotted for construction,” Jacques said.

Highway 304 median work to continue

The in basket: R.M. Parker commented on the recent Road Warrior column about the truncated cleanup of the Highway 303 median in Bremerton by saying, “I thought great progress was made considering the shape the Gateway was in and the really tough southern section. I am now wondering who is responsible and the contact for the non-city portion of the median further south. It would be nice to contact them and see if that portion can also be cleaned up.”

The out basket: The city itself is responsible for the entire median, even that outside the city limits, says Engineer Gunnar Fridriksson of city public works.

“The city has formal agreements with (the state) for maintenance,” he said. “The reason for our being responsible for the county portion of the roadway (the stretch from the Missouri Gate out to the 3-304 interchange) was the plan had been to annex this area after construction of the last city phase of the 304 project was completed.

“With the turmoil of the last few years, this annexation has been put on the back burner for now. We, as well, own and maintain the street lighting along Charleston Beach Road.

“We did have a maintenance contract with a landscaping company for just over a year (2011) shortly after construction, and this area was in really good shape back then. The contract was a casualty with the budget process.

“I am not sure who did the work, but if you notice the frontage along Cliff’s Cycle, someone has gone in there and cut and cleaned up that section very nicely,” Gunnar said.

As for the unfinished section of the First Street-to-Farragut Avenue section of the median attacked by volunteers on Oct. 22, it will be finished, including application of garden bark its entire length, by city crews this week.

April 5 has been chosen for the next volunteer cleaning, from Farragut to Charleston Beach Road, he said. That will leave the remainder of the median out to Highway 3. The speed limit there (45 miles per hour) is too high to have volunteers do it. The city wants to get it done, but the how and when remains undecided.

Retsil-Mile Hill Drive signal knocked out three days

The in basket: The traffic signal at Retsil Road and the state’s portion of Mile Hill Drive (Highway 166) in Port Orchard must have taken quite a hit in Saturday’s wind storm. A wide area around the intersection was cordoned off with yellow tape Saturday morning. The signal was dark from early Saturday through Sunday and it was the site of a major repair project Monday.

A couple large state bucket trucks and other vehicles were at work, plus flaggers in all four legs of the intersection. Two of the highway’s four lanes were closed. They were still there after 3 p.m. I asked what had happened.

The out basket: Jim Newman, head of the Olympic Region signal shop for state highways, said, “Due to the wind storm a high voltage power line came down. This sent a high voltage spike through our signal equipment causing damage to our cabinet, internal components, displays and wiring. Our crews were working on replacing the damaged equipment Monday, and worked late to get the signal back in operation.”

Another skeptic wonders about impact of new Silverdale traffic light

The in basket: Bob Arper is worried about the impact on traffic from the new traffic signal being installed at the southbound off-ramp from Highway 303 to Ridgetop Boulevard in Silverdale.

“The traffic back-up in the southbound lane of Ridgetop Boulevard at the interchange and existing light often stretches well beyond the traffic lights at the intersection close to Ridgetop Junior High when school lets out,” Bob said..

“Can you find out if the additional light they are working on will be synched with the lights close to the junior high?”

The in basket: Eventually, they will be. For now, though, the conduit for fiber-optic line to tie the new signal to Hillsboro, the street near the junior high, and Myhre Road down the hill have no specific date for installation.

The conduit has been installed on the project site, so the two signals at the interchange will work together. “The controller on the existing signal on the east side has been upgraded and interconnected to make coordination easier,” says Doug Bear of the county public works department.

Bob’s inquiry echoes that of Jerry Van Fossen, who predicted a year ago in August that congestion will worsen when the signal is operating.

Jeff Shea, traffic engineer for Kitsap County, said then, “The new signal will be under the control of the state.  (It) has many highway ramps with signalized intersections on both ramp terminals, including the SR 303/Silverdale ramps.  They have the trained personnel to make the signal timing coordination as facilitating as possible, and they are willing to work with us on signal coordinations.

“I can’t make the claim that this won’t impact the other delays,”Jeff said then, “but they should be minimal if at all.

“The county’s road plan calls for lengthening the right turn lane on westbound Ridgetop approaching the interchange in 2018. “This would shorten the queues by allowing more motorists to reach that turn lane without getting delayed in the through-lane queue,” he said.

Kitsap Lake crosswalk needs more than CPA is offering, says city

The in basket: Christopher Mutchler, a Kitsap Lake native who has established his accounting business there, says there is a serious need for a crosswalk across Kitsap Way in their business district.

“Growing up, there was a crosswalk between Bill’s Inn (the Garage) and the lake side of

Kitsap Way,” he said, “Some time later, the crosswalk was moved to between Fire One Protection and Novak Gutters.
“Now, no crosswalk.  When I researched locating here last December, I was informed by the city that nearly 10,000 cars pass this direction each day. Why no crosswalk now?

“I can purchase two solar powered, radio-controlled signs

from Tapco for $5,500.  I can raise the money myself and Tapco says they can be installed in a few hours.  Any reason why I could not create ‘Christopher’s Crosswalk?'”

He said he got the impression from the mayor in a July meeting with business owners at Kitsap Lake that it could be done, but he’s heard nothing since.

The out basket: The city very much appreciates the offer, says Street Engineer Gunnar Fridriksson, but must turn it down.

“My concern,” he said, “would be with the width of the roadway, pedestrians would get a false sense of security and some (driver) not paying attention would fail to notice the flashers on the side of the road. We really need a full system including a flasher and signage at the center of the roadway in the refuge island.”

And such a full system is on the drawing board. “This crossing is one of three projects the city council selected last year for us to concentrate on finding funding to complete,” Gunnar said. “We are looking at a system that has a flasher in the center along with a median island, and would be hardwire-connected instead of solar panels.”

As with plans to upgrade the crosswalk at First Street and Highway 304, discussed in a recent Road Warrior column, plans for the Kitsap Lake crosswalk are detailed in what’s called the Non-Motorized Plan.

It shows the crossing at the north side of the Harlow Drive intersection, and calls for pedestrian activated signage and a raised area half-way across for a pedestrian refuge. It appears to also involve sidewalks with more definitive breaks for driveways.

When, of course, depends on acquiring money to get it done.