Tag Archives: 106

Belfair’s SR3 pavement to be smoothed in stages

The in basket: Alan Feldman asks when the highway through Belfair will be made smoother. The patches that have been done so far are terrible and rough to drive across, he said.

The out basket: The work so far is just temporary, and covers underground utility relocation work to prepare for a widening of most of Highway 3 through the town this summer.

The week of Feb. 23, ” the utility company plans to do some spot paving to smooth out the multiple patches on the road,” says Claudia Bingham-Baker of state highways’ Olympic Region. “The road will still be patched, but should be much easier to drive on.”

That work will be done during the day Monday through Friday and at night beginning at 7 o’clock on Thursday and Friday that week.

“In addition, our upcoming construction project resurfaces all lanes of SR 3 through the project limits. That resurfacing, however, probably won’t occur until 2016.”

She refers those interested in the project to check it out at http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/projects/sr3/belfairimprovements/

This summer’s work will widen 1.72 miles of the town’s main drag from Belfair Elementary to half-way up the hill leaving town to the north. It will provide wider shoulder and a lengthened two-way turn lane. Another half-mile of the same, reaching to the Highway 106 intersection, is awaiting funding so will be done later.

Wide stripes being tested on Highway 106

The in basket: I found myself on Highway 106, aka South Shore Road coming back from the Shelton Oyster Fest and Hunter Farms recently and was struck by the striping on the edge lines and center line.

The white edge lines at both shoulders, and wherever a center stripe prohibited passing, the stripes were about twice as wide as normal. Only the skip stripes where passing is allowed were normal width. They may have been brighter than usual too, though that may just have been that the paint was brand new.

The state tries to restripe all its lines each summer and fall, but not like this.

The out basket:  I asked Claudia Bingham Baker of the Olympic Region of state highways about it and she sent along a news release that essentially says the purpose is to make the road appear narrower without actually narrowing it.

“Maintenance crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation have taken an innovative approach to help motorists focus on the road and drive the speed limit on a portion of State Route 106 southwest of Belfair,” it said.

“On September 15, WSDOT widened the edge stripe and center line stripes along the roadway from the standard 4 inches to 8 inches. The wider stripe will encroach into the lane and thus not reduce the width of roadway shoulders. From a driver’s perspective, the wider stripe not only increases visibility of the edge stripe, but it also gives the appearance of a slightly narrowed lane, which research has shown improves compliance to the posted speed limit.

“Over the past decade, researchers have found that wider edge lines can improve vehicle operations,” said WSDOT Traffic Engineer Steve Kim. “A 2012 Texas Transportation Institute study provided evidence that wider edge lines are a cost effective, statistically sound approach to reducing crashes and fatalities on a two-lane rural highway.”

“The wider edge line runs along eight miles of SR 106 from milepost 12.2 (near Twanoh State Park) to milepost 20 (near State Route 3).

“WSDOT conducted a speed study before the wider edge lines were installed, and will do so again in the coming months to evaluate the effects of the wider edge lines, and compare results to the 2012 Texas Transportation Institute study.  According to the study, at least 22 other states are currently using the wider edge lines.”

Claudia says I would encounter the same thing on two-lane Highway 302 in Pierce and Mason counties, and four-lane Highway 8 west of Olympia, where it’s also being tried.

“We’ll have to see how the pilot performs to see if we choose to expand the striping (to other highways),” she said

Highway 106 project on South Shore will replace culvert

The in basket: Cynthia Collier writes, “I drive State Route 106 every day to/from Union for work. Can you tell me what the road construction project is that’s taking place near the Twanoh Falls private beach area?

“Looks pretty extensive,” she said, “has the speed limit reduced to 25 mph, and has the road reduced to one lane, stopping traffic just about every morning. We’re all wondering what’s going on and how long it’s anticipated to last.”

The out basket: It’s another in the series of culvert replacements the state (and the counties) are doing to remove fish passage obstacles. It will continue through October and is, indeed, expensive, costing $6.3 million dollars.

According to the project Web site, http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/SR106/TwanohFallsImprovements/, “As part of an agreement with Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, WSDOT is moving away from the repetitive repair of roadways that require recent, frequent and chronic maintenance repairs. Instead, WSDOT concentrates on long-term solutions that will optimize the improvements for fish and fish habitat, while also addressing transportation needs.
“The highway crossing has had a long standing problem of sediment accumulation,” it said, “requiring frequent excavation by maintenance crews to maintain creek flow and prevent flooding of the highway and adjacent properties. The sedimentation also poses fish passage problems.
“The culvert currently in place under SR 106 is too small. Replacing it with a larger one will improve creek flow, allow for fish passage and reduce sediment buildup. This will save money on frequent maintenance costs.
Since 1991, WSDOT has completed 269 fish barrier removal projects opening up over 904 miles of potential upstream habitat for fish,” the Web site said.