Sidney Road bypass lane at Wildwood called ‘a joke’

The in basket: Nick, who gave no last name, wrote in mid-October , “A number of the people I talked to think the (recently built) county bypass lane at Sidney and Wildwood roads is a joke .

“The northbound bypass lane still has traffic cones blocking its use. If you are coming off Wildwood and turning to go north on Sidney, and you have a low vehicle, the power pole and high guard rail block your view of any traffic coming toward you on Sidney. Consequently, you have to pull up almost into the southbound lane of Sidney. There has been one vehicle accident that I know of so far.

“Why didn’t  the county start the bypass  lane north of Wildwood so there would be turn lane onto Wildwood?”

The out basket: Once again, I found visiting a completed county project at an out-of-the-way location provided a big surprise as to its scope. As with the work the county did at Mullenix and Bethel-Burley a while back, the Sidney bypass lane involved a lot of earth work and a retaining wall, not just an extra lane of pavement.

There were no cones when I was there and no northbound bypass lane was part of the project.

Jeff Shea, Kitsap County’s traffic engineer, detailed the evolution of the job.

“A history of collisions with stopped left turning vehicles being rear-ended put this intersection on the construction program list. On a 45 mph road, that can be very dangerous.

“Our initial plan was to construct a left turn lane and get turning traffic out of the through lane of the road,” Jeff said. “(But) the turn lane length extended well past the Wildwood intersection.  Extending the lane past the intersection is unacceptable for safety reasons.

“The second alternative was a continuous two-way left turn lane that included both the Wildwood and Shannon Drive intersections. This was ruled out because of the conflict of left turning vehicles from both directions.  Due to the direction of the intersections’ offset, left-turning vehicles from both directions would share the same lane, which could lead to a very dangerous head-on collision.

“We did some research on the Federal Highway Administration website and found some states were using the ‘bypass’ lane configuration successfully to reduce rear-end collisions. The decision was made to try the configuration at this location due to the collision pattern and monitor the location to see if it works.

“While out looking at the completed project,” Jeff said, “I personally witnessed a motorist maneuver around a stopped left-turning vehicle at a high rate of speed.  If the lane had not been present, I would have either witnessed a rear-end collision or a motorist driving into the ditch.

“I am not sure what the reader is referring to by the bypass lane in the northbound direction, because there is no bypass in that direction.  The rear-end collision frequency at Wildwood did not warrant any improvements at that intersection.

“The collision that I am aware of at this location was due to a motorist pulling out in front of an oncoming vehicle.

“Since the collision we have installed a stop line to help motorists know where to stop and look in both directions for oncoming cars.  Since the stop line was installed I am not aware of any collisions at this location.

“As to the cones still being there…they were not placed there by Kitsap County and have been removed.”



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