Tag Archives: 3

Silverdale Yield sign at 3-303 raises a question

The in basket: Donald Hein e-mailed to say, “Southbound, leaving the freeway at Silverdale, at the end of the off-ramp two lanes are left-turn to East Bremerton and one lane is right-turn to Silverdale.

“More-or-less opposite the left-turning lanes at the end of the off-ramp is a traffic signal.  And, at the end of the off-ramp is a Yield sign, which can only apply to right-turning traffic.

The question is:  Does the traffic signal on the opposite side control only the left-turning lanes?  In other words, are right-turning vehicles required to stop when the signal is red, or are they controlled only by the Yield sign, and thus can proceed cautiously without making a full stop?

“This situation occurs most obviously when traffic from Silverdale is making a left turn across the front of the off-ramp, on their way to the on-ramp for the freeway northbound.

“The point is, the traffic signal is ambiguously located, and/or maybe needs a text sign added which clarifies its applicability,” Don argues.

The out basket: The Yield sign controls the right turn, and the traffic signals control only the left turns. Even without the Yield sign, right turners would be able to make a legal right turn on red after stopping and yielding. The sign was added to make it clear that stopping isn’t necessary if there is no conflicting traffic heading toward Silverdale, reducing backups of right turners.

If accidents become enough of a problem there, I would expect adding a stop sign for right turners would be the first step.

State Trooper Russ Winger says, “We do get our share of rear-end collisions here. Invariably they are caused when the lead right-turning vehicle‎ starts into the turn and then stops when they see approaching traffic from the left. The following vehicle driver assumes the lead vehicle is continuing the turn as they look to the left for traffic and they fail, in that brief moment, to observe that the lead vehicle has stopped.

“There is usually traffic stopped in the two left-turn lanes that hinders vision for the right-turning vehicle until they get into the turn a bit. Not a great design there, in my opinion.

“Myself and other troopers have investigated more than a few rear-end collisions with similar sequence of events. In my experience the‎ rear vehicle is at fault in most instances‎,” Russ concluded.

I don’t see anything ambiguous about where the traffic signals are situated. And I can’t picture wording on signs next to the signal heads that wouldn’t cause more confusion than they’d eliminate.


Driver unimpressed with 3-304 merge proposals

The in basket: David McCloskey e-mailed to ask and comment about a state Department of Transportation study of ways to make traffic flow more smoothly west of Bremerton on the way to Gorst, including consultant work by the Parametrix company

 “Why did WSDOT spend $500,000 to use the Parametrix company instead of their own highly skilled engineers? he began, then addressed the preliminary suggestions announced in May and added his own.

“Five of the suggestions most likely will not work, just forcing the traffic backup more towards Gorst,” he said. . “My fix would be to place a metering light at the Auto Center Way exit and make Highway 3 two lanes all the way through. Get rid of the 304 HOV lane in front of the ship yard (1% usage at 3-6pm).

“Spending this money was HOGWASH, with no improvements seen till next year. We need a resolve now. I have driven this route for five years already. The highway speeds reduce to 5 mph.” 

Except for one, those preliminary recommendations are limited to modifying the existing merge by adding lanes where there is room for more and letting both lanes of Highway 3 flow under the Highway 304 overpass,

The other one would create a third lane from the interchange all the way to Gorst, which would entail cutting into the rock cliffs that line the highway now.

A state Web site says a workshop will be held this summer to choose one of the options as the best.

I passed David’s comments on to the state and asked if the third lane alternative doesn’t stand out as far and away the most expensive. It’s been proposed off and on for decades, without ever going forward.

I also asked if the workshop has been scheduled.

The out basket: Claudia Bingham-Baker of WSDOT’s Olympic Region, replied, “We do plan to hold a workshop in August, in which the stakeholders involved in the SR 3/SR 304 study will be presented the study results, including the various options being considered.  The stakeholder committee and WSDOT together will determine which option becomes the preferred alternative.

“Once the preferred alternative is identified, WSDOT will hold a public meeting to share that alternative with the public.  Neither meeting has been scheduled yet.”

David’s comments will be added to others received since the list of possible options came out, for the stakeholders’ consideration, she said.

“Cutting into the rock face adjacent to the highway to make room for the lane “(would make) that option an expensive one indeed,” Claudia said.  “Whether it would be the ‘most’ expensive option depends on what other ideas the stakeholder committee may come up with.

 “Mr. McCloskey claimed that WSDOT paid the consultant Parametrix $500,000 for the SR 3/SR 304 study rather than using their own ‘highly skilled engineers.’  We, in fact, paid Parametrix $43,000 for specialized traffic modeling services needed for the study, and we picked up the analysis process from there.  We’d like to thank Mr. McCloskey for recognizing that our engineers are highly skilled.

“Mr. McCloskey mentioned ramp meters (already being considered), making SR 3 two lanes all the way to Gorst (included in several options being studied), and getting rid of the SR 304 HOV lane (we’re looking at potential impacts of converting the HOV lane to general-purpose).

“We sympathize with drivers’ frustration that studies take a long time and design and construction of a permanent fix takes even longer. All the while, we know that people just want to get from point A to point B in a reasonable amount of time.

“The purpose of the study is to identify a fix that will work not only now, but at least 20 years into the future. Even once we identify that preferred alternative, no 3-304 merge preoposals or construction funds are currently identified for the work. Until that time, we can only offer up behavioral solutions – adjust work hours to avoid peak commute times, share the ride so he can use that HOV lane, and pack patience.”

Temporary Highway 3 repair said to have made things worse

The in basket: Lee Hanson and John Pearson both say the temporary repair of the depression in the outside lane of southbound Highway 3 just north of the Kitsap Way interchange made it worse, not better.

Duke Stryker, head of state highway maintenance crews here, said in October that a culvert under the highway there was damaged in last November’s heavy rainstorm and that permanent repair would have to wait until next year. But they’d due a temporary repair in the meantime, he said.

The out basket: I didn’t drive over the depression before the temporary work was done, but have now. I can’t say it’s much of a disruption, at least not in my 2013 Malibu.

Claudia Bingham-Baker of the Olympic Region state highway information office, says, “Our maintenance crews are keeping an eye on SR 3 at the location your readers mentioned. We will re-patch the area when we see more settling.”

Bump in Highway 3’s outside lane to be tended to

The in basket: Pat Fuhrer of the Silverdale engineering consultants MAP Ltd. e-mailed to ask ,”Have you driven southbound  SR 3 in front of the Bayview apartments since the state closed the lane Sept. 20 & 21 to repair the culvert trench recently?  It’s worse now then it was before!   Do you know if another repair is planned soon, and might they use a lean concrete backfill so it doesn’t settle again?”

The out basket: They are aware of the problem, just north of the Kitsap Way interchange in Bremerton, and will be fixing it temporarily soon and permanently next year, says Duke Stryker, head of maintenance for state highways locally.

An 18-inch-wide culvert that runs under the highway was damaged in last November’s heavy rains, he said. They had to dig down 14 feet to repair the damaged section, and found that the entire culvert was in bad shape.

So they contracted to have a 16-inch-wide liner inserted through it’s entire length last month, which required another 14-foot trench tin which they had to “wrestle the liner through there, after which it was backfilled and repaved,” he said.

But the compaction of the finished product didn’t hold up, leaving a depression.

“We’ve had some settlement, similar to what we had before,” Duke said. “We’ll put some cold mix in there and keep and eye on it, and put it on our paving schedule next year.”

Moving or waiting after you’re in a fender bender

The in basket: Paul Krause wrote in February with a plea that those involved in a minor accident between Bremerton and Gorst help keep their mishap from backing up traffic on Highway 3.

“The traffic jam 2/7/2013 caused by a fender bender resulted in 1.5 hours waiting in a traffic jam,” he said. “This costs local employers thousands in overtime paid to employees. Another thought is the devastating amount of emissions added to our atmosphere because of idling.

“If you are involved in a mechanical failure or fender bender, you must move to the nearest exit,” he said. “Heading northbound from Gorst, move it all the way to the Charleston Highway (Navy Yard Highway) or the Loxie Eagans Boulevard exit.  If heading southbound you must move your car to the gas station in Gorst and not use the middle area to pull off.

“There are regulatory signs posted in the area to remind of the importance to keep moving until a wider area of the road,” Paul said.

“It is time for a causeway or some sort of bridge over Sinclair Inlet to create better traffic flow and an alternative routes for evacuations,” he said. “Yes, make it a toll bridge,” he concluded.

The out basket: Paul is far more specific in his recommendations than the authorities are, but there are signs on the stretch telling drivers to move to a safe location if they are in a fender bender and not wait around for law enforcement to arrive at the crash scene. Fender bender means no one is injured.

I told Trooper Russ Winger of the State Patrol here that I’d always figured those signs were intended to remove the distraction that backs up traffic and to keep things flowing. I asked him about Paul’s e-mail.

The out basket: “The primary reasoning is to clear the roadway so traffic can flow and driver/occupants are not exposed,”Russ said. “Dealing with the visual distractions is very helpful but not always possible.

“We are not really in the business of telling drivers exactly where to move off too. If the parties have some common sense, they can figure out something. If not, just moving off the road is sufficient, then when we get there or other law enforcement arrives, they can get the parties to a safer spot. The location may dictate the options available.

“In any type of collision involving injuries,” Russ said, “the parties should wait at the scene. In situations where vehicles are moved to remote locations prior to law enforcement’s arrival, the actual scene disappears and officers are left to investigate from driver statements and evidence that may or may not be present on the roadway.

“This is important because we are in the business of investigating collisions rather than simply reporting them,” Russ said. “There is a substantial difference.”

The idea of a bridging Sinclair Inlet or creating another route around it has been kicked around for years, but it’s so far down the list of proposed projects, I don’t expect to see it in my lifetime.