New Orseth Road bridge gets tongue-in-cheek criticism

The in basket: Richard Yerk of Suquamish called to say those who are aware of the new bridge Kitsap County built on Orseth Road this year have taken to calling it the Orseth Narrows Bridge, due to its size and complexity. They are non-plussed by what they understand is the $1.3 million cost of a bridge serving the dead-end Orseth Road, which intersects Miller Bay Road near Indianola, can’t be much more than a quarter-mile long and has little development aside from the business at the end where Richard gets his landscaping supplies.

The out basket: l went to look at the new bridge, and can’t say it’s all that excessive. Sheet pile walls that support the bank of the marshy area beneath were the mostIMG_2524 September 29, 2015 unusual elements I saw.

What struck me odd was the nature of that water. I assumed the work was one of the salmon-enhancement projects that increasingly use up the state and county’s road-building money. But rather than a stream, the water looked more like a marsh. There seemed to be no movement of the water which shows no obvious inlet or outlet and is surrounded by wetland growth.

Tina Nelson, senior program manager for Kitsap County Public Works, says it is indeed part of a stream, Grover’s Creek, which is more obviously a stream elsewhere along its course. And the bridge cost $650,000, of which $450,000 went into the actual construction, not $1.3 million, she said.

“Orseth Road is a county road classified as ‘Rural Local Access,’ she continued. “As such, it is incumbent on the county to maintain this roadway even though it provides access for only a limited number of properties.

“As part of Kitsap County’s routine maintenance operations, the condition of existing culverts is periodically inspected to determine if improvements/replacement are warranted. A number of years ago, during a routine inspection, the six-foot diameter, corrugated metal culvert under Orseth Road showed heavy corrosion throughout the pipe.

“To preclude any potential roadway damage (or complete failure) a project to replace the culvert was placed on the county’s 2008 Transportation Improvement Plan.

“During the preliminary engineering phase for this culvert replacement project, various permitting agencies were contacted to determine the regulatory requirements for this environmentally sensitive site.  (It) is mapped as having the potential for endangered fish presence and critical fish habitat, therefore fisheries design requirements for a replacement structure would need to be met. The regulatory agencies indicated that an 18-foot wide opening would be required to pass Grover’s Creek to the south.

“Because of this large opening requirement, the idea of retrofitting the existing culvert with a liner or replacing the pipe in kind were not viable solutions.

“Various larger culvert types and bridges were then analyzed and evaluated to determine the best replacement solution.  From these alternatives, it was determined that a pile supported, precast, short span bridge would be the best and most economical replacement structure.

“With construction of the short span bridge now completed,  the roadway is preserved and fish passage is greatly improved at a much lower cost than was indicated to you,” she said.

2 thoughts on “New Orseth Road bridge gets tongue-in-cheek criticism

  1. Travis, really?
    “the bridge cost $650,000, of which $450 went into the actual construction”
    Geez, if we could get bridges built for $450, we could save a bunch of money.

  2. I just wanted to publicly thank Jacques Dean and the Kitsap County Public Works road crews for their well-crafted repair of the ever-worsening sinking pavement areas on southbound Miller Bay Road NE at North Kitsap Heritage Park. We thought it might have been a collapsing culvert, but the county folks think it was just the deteriorating edge of the work done there several years ago when the turn lane into the North Kitsap Heritage parking area was completed. In any case, it was getting worse, and getting more dangerous as drivers took the center turn lane at road speed (45-50 mph) in order to avoid the dip in the southbound lane that could just about put you airborne. Job well done, and much appreciated!

    It’s easy to ‘armchair quarterback’ and criticize road maintenance and so forth – the more I have contact with Public Works, the more I believe they’re doing a really good job.

    Tom Curley

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