Tag Archives: 160

Tight turns on Sedgwick at Long Lake bring inquiry

The in basket: Ken Hovater asks if there are any plans for installing right turn pockets both east and westbound on Sedgwick Road (SR 160) at Long Lake Road in South Kitsap.

“Turning traffic has to come almost to a complete stop to negotiate the westbound turn,” he said, “and many drivers seem to have trouble making the turn in the eastbound direction as well.”

Rounding the corners would probably help as much if not more than a deceleration lane. I asked the state spokesman if they have noticed the problem Ken mentions.

The out basket: Claudia Bingham-Baker of the Olympic Region of state highways, says, “In the last transportation budget, WSDOT was allocated $200,000 to study the SR 160/Long Lake Road intersection. The study will consider ideas such as building a roundabout, adding a signal, building possibly two roundabouts at connecting roads to allow traffic to reverse directions, and other options to improve traffic flow.

“The study will begin in the next couple of months. During the study we will solicit feedback from Port Orchard, Kitsap County and other stakeholders,” she said.

Another Sedgwick Road school zone raises questions

The in basket: “What am I going to do with you?” old friend Jack Gaudette asked me on the phone the other day. 

I had included Jack among those  named in an earlier Road Warrior column who were puzzled by the length of the school zone on newly widened Sedgwick Road at Converse Avenue.

But he wasn’t asking about that school zone, Jack told me. He had been asking about the school zone at Sedgwick Junior High a few miles down the highway to the east. 

In that earlier column, a state official had said the end a school zone can be indicated by an “End of School Zone” sign or a speed limit sign setting a higher speed. They had chosen the latter at Converse.

But there is neither at the junior high, Jack said. The only speed limit sign one encounters going either way on Sedgwick is a long way down the road. Do they have to stay at 20 mph all that way when the school zone lights are flashing, he wondered.

The Sedgwick zone got flashing lights just last year to indicate when the 20 mph speed limit is in effect.

That same day Jack called to straighten me out, Mary Gay phoned to make the same point. “I think the state forgot to put in an ‘end school  zone’ sign,” she said. Most people figure they’re out of the school zone when they pass the sign with the flashing light for traffic going in the opposite direction, she said. But with the regular speed limit of 45 mph, you’re risking a whopper of a ticket risky making that assumption. 

The out basket: I drove it and found that there are 1.3 miles between speed limit signs on either side of the school zone. 

Steve Bennett, traffic operations engineer for the Olymmpic Regi0n of state highways, said there definitely should be some indication that the school zone had ended once one is past the school, and the state will install 45 mph speed limit signs where the school zone ends at each opposing flashing light.

Sedgwick work disappoints this reader

The in basket: “Is that all there is?” asks Bill Slach of South Kitsap in an e-mail that echoes Peggy Lee’s musical question of a few decades ago.

“The grading and paving of the portion of Sedgwick Road just east of Highway 16 seems nearly complete,” he said. “Is that all they are doing? Why no turn lanes for the intersecting streets? They have lots of room on the south side of the road to extend the paving. It’s as if they didn’t widen the road at all.”

He told of a car stalled “going up the hill from the intersection and right after the wide part narrows down. With oncoming traffic there wasn’t enough room to get around unless you waited for a break,” he said. “The car was as far to the right as possible which would have been on the bike, walking, or shoulder lane but it wasn’t enough.  All that money and they didn’t improve the street but a few inches, if that.” Bill said.

The out basket: It probably will be better when the project is complete, with some gravel on the shoulders beyond the pavement providing some extra width, but other than that, what you see is what you’ll get.

It became quite an issue last year when Don Ryan, Darlene Piper, Tom Myers, Jim Avery and other owners of property on or near Sedgwick on that side of Bethel Avenue mounted an eleventh-hour attempt to modify the project plans to add turn lanes, at their expense. State officials said such a change would have required that they reopen the environmental review process and they went ahead with the original plans. Project Engineer Brenden Clarke explains it this way: 

“With the limited funds for the project, the turn lanes were only added to the intersections on the east side of Bethel that have experienced the highest number of accidents.  The intersections in that area have much higher volumes of turning traffic.  

“The area between Highway 16 and Bethel does get widened shoulders and slope flattening that allows drivers to see stopped or slow traffic.  The odds would have been much higher that the disabled car would have been struck had it not been for the recent improvements that have been made to the highway. 

“I agree that turn lanes would have been nice throughout the project, but funds did not allow them to be constructed as a part of this project,” Brenden said. “We are doing the most improvements possible with the available funding.”

I also asked Brenden if there would be any work outside the orange mesh barriers along the highway between Jackson Avenue and Long Lake Road.

He said no, but the highway will be widened at Phillips Road to accommodate a left turn lane and there will be some widening at Long Lake Road to improve the turn radius from Long Lake to westbound Sedgwick.

You can read more about the project on line at www.wsdot.wa.gov/projects/sr160/sr16_longlake/. Among the information there is the total price tag – $8.24 million. The contractor is being paid $3.15 million, which is the amount shown on the signs at each end of the project. The rest includes $3.25 million to buy right of way for this work and future expansion – $100,000 more than the construction contract. Design, engineering and environmental mitigation are also included, Brenden says.