Combined on- and off-ramp on 303 troubles driver

The in basket:  Norman Marten of Bainbridge Island wrote in March about what he considered to be “possibly the worst intersection configuration imaginable … at least for me.”

“I was on Central Valley Road traveling north to get onto Route 303 toward Silverdale,” he said. “I crossed over 303 and saw what appeared to be the entrance on the left.

“Immediately I saw a one-way sign and a large “DO NO ENTER sign. I kept going by and turned left on what I thought was the entrance. No. It is a parallel local road, which is an issue in itself.

“It is separated from the actual entrance lanes by a low chain link fence such that oncoming cars there appear to be headed right at you until the last moment (it curves).

“In any case, I turned around and proceeded back and discovered that the opening from Central Valley is a wide, shared area with the entrance and exit lanes combined.  Who is the rocket scientist that designed that?

“A ways into this there is a slightly raised divider on the pavement but you need to actually turn into this to realize what is happening.

“What I totally don’t understand,” he said, “is why they don’t have an island at the edge of Central Valley with clear signage that the entrance is to the right of the divide.  Putting the low divider back from where Central Valley passes is crazy.  I can’t imagine getting there on a rainy night.  Really scary.  Combined exit/entrance lanes should be outlawed.”

The out basket: I don’t often use this combined exit-entrance and haven’t had any trouble there the few times I did. I’m fairly certain it wasn’t dark and rainy.

There was an indication the day I went to look at it that someone else might have had a problem. On the sign pointing to the left to go to Silverdale, someone had added a peculiar-looking decal, pointing down at a 45-degree angle, as if to provide some added instruction. It was gone the next time I visited there.

Also, I turned onto the short dead-end street Norman mentions, and in coming back out, saw a pickup truck moving at what seemed too high a speed for that road coming at me. He actually was over on the on-ramp to 303, which became obvious when it curved, but it was a momentary thrill.

The state doesn’t see need for a change. Claudia Bingham Baker of the state’s Olympic Region says, “Your reader is asking for a sign to be placed on a center island between the ramps on the north side of the interchange.  We believe such a sign would be a hazard for left-turning trucks and would probably be knocked down in short order.

“Since the way to Silverdale is already signed before the on-ramp, we have no current plans to make sign changes at that location.”

She didn’t address extending the center divider to Central Valley Road, but I suppose that would be hit by far more turning drivers than would be confused by the current alignment.

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