Tag Archives: 302

Detour signs prepare for weeklong Highway 302 closure

The in basket: On a roundtrip to Shelton’s Oyster Fest last weekend I passed a series of road signs on Highway 3 between Gorst and Allyn.

The signs were orange but covered with black plastic. The plastic on two or three didn’t cover the entire sign and I could see the top word was “Detour.” The locations didn’t coincide with the recent paving of parts of Highway 3 or the ongoing work in Belfair.

I asked what’s being planned.

The out basket: Claudia Bingham Baker replied that work will begin this weekend on a culvert project that will close Highway 302, which runs between Purdy and Allyn. She referred me to a news release I hadn’t seen before.

“Contractor crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation will close a section of State Route 302 in October to replace two failed culverts and reinforce the roadway,” it said.

“A 170-foot section of SR 302 is slowly settling due to erosion, and damaging the roadway. Replacing the culverts will help prevent stormwater runoff from damaging roadway material, which makes up the base the highway.

“Crews will also install specialized lightweight concrete to help shore up the roadway.

“These repairs tackle two problems at once, and will keep the road smooth longer while reducing the costs we’re seeing from having to repave several times a year,” said Project Engineer Michele Britton.

Both directions of  302 will be closed at milepost 4.5 near Victor starting at 6 a.m., Saturday, it said. All lanes will reopen by 9 a.m. on Saturday, Oct 15.

Local access will be allowed to, but not through, the work zone.

Signed detour routes will be in place allowing drivers to bypass the closure by using signed State Route 3 and State Route 16, it said.

This work is weather dependent, it said, noting that that stretch of  302 carries approximately 3,000 vehicles per day.

Extra wide stripes no help with speeds; crash impacts uncertain

The in basket: On a recent car trip to Shelton, I noticed that the state had applied the experimental wide striping to the edge and lane lines on Highway 3 through the Pickering Road intersection north of the city. The painted lines are twice as wide as the ordinary striping.

The wider lines were installed two years ago on South Shore Road (Highway 106) along Hood Canal and on Highway 303 between Purdy and Allyn. The idea was to give drivers the impression the highway is narrower than it is, causing them to drive more slowly. At the time, the state said it would evaluate the striping over the ensuing year to see if it accomplished that goal.

I asked what that evaluation showed.

The out basket: Claudia Bingham Baker of the state highway department’s Olympic Region, says,

“Applying the 8-inch wide striping was a pilot project to evaluate its effectiveness as a speed-management and crash-reduction tool. Wider striping makes the lane appear more narrow, and we wanted to see if that perception deterred speeding and helped people stay in the lane.

“Our before/after speed study showed no significant difference in operating speeds. We are still collecting crash data to see if the wider striping is helping people stay in the lane. It takes 3-4 years to collect enough data to have meaningful conclusions. At present we do not plan to apply wider striping in new locations.”

Roundabout in Purdy is a possibility

The in basket: Someone (I can no longer find the inquiry) asked me if there was anything new in efforts to ease the rush-hour backups at the Purdy traffic signal for traffic trying to get to Key Peninsula after pulling off northbound Highway 16.

The lines of vehicles, which have caused the state to allow shoulder driving on Highway 16 to get exiting cars out of the through lanes at the Purdy exit, remain long, the inquiry said.

The out basket: It turns out there has been a lot of progress, though the most immediate change will address morning backups in the other direction. But there may be a roundabout in place of that over-worked Purdy stop light within three years.

Karen Boone, assistant project engineer in the Olympic Region design shop, said the most recent gas tax increase of 9 1/2 cents per gallon has provided $6.65 million for work in or near Purdy, to be done in two phases.

A lot of it in both phases will be devoted to Highway 302’s intersection with 118th Avenue well west of Purdy. Turn lanes and guard rail to improve safety are planned there.

But by Christmas this year, a new signal controller and optical traffic detector in Purdy will turn the left-turn light green for traffic coming east over the Purdy Bridge whenever the backup to turn left (about 10 cars) blocks those who want to turn right from getting to the turn. More reflective signs also wlll be installed.

In 2012, a contract is scheduled to be let for work to include other improvements in Purdy, Karen said. One option being studied is building a roundabout there.

She said preliminary traffic studies say a roundabout would be a partial fix for the long afternoon lines, not a complete one. “It won’t be the silver bullet,” she said.

One complication that often works against roundabouts – the need to buy a lot of right of way – is not a problem in Purdy, she said. The state owns enough land there to build a roundabout, though some of it is leased to businesses at present.

Another complication, for all projects – money – could be decisive. The $6.65 million might not stretch to cover a roundabout.

If the state decides against the roundabout, the only other option identified so far doesn’t sound like a major help. That would be putting in a second northbound lane at the stop light to let traffic wanting to go straight rather than turn left onto 302 get out of the left-turn queue. Karen couldn’t say what percentage of the traffic goes straight, but suspects it’s a minority.

Karen said such a second lane couldn’t be too long, or it would run into some fish barriers uphill. If they disturbed them, they’d have to bring them up to code, which could consume all of the available money and then some, she said.

Another traffic obstacle in Purdy, the narrow bridge, is on the state’s list for replacement, she said, but that would be a long time in the future.