Tag Archives: 308

Highway 308 cross-hatching just means, ‘Don’t drive here’

The in basket: I’ve wondered for years about a row of double diagonal lines, created by small white raised pavement markers, commonly called turtles, alongside Highway 308 in North Kitsap. They are between the on-ramp and off-ramp from 308 to Highway 3 and extend only part way from the westbound driving lane to a concrete wall that’s part of the overpass bridge. I don’t recall seeing them elsewhere.

What message are they intended to convey, I asked.

The out basket: They simply denote that that area is not part of a lane, so aren’t to be driven on, state officials told me.

“Whenever there is empty pavement, it will get used unless it is clear to drivers that it is not supposed to be driven on,” they said.

I don’t know who would want to drive on them anyway. There is nowhere to go and any car traveling there would conflict with traffic coming off Highway 3 on the off-ramp. I guess the diagonal lines just underscores that fact.

Highway 308 school zone to be clarified

The in basket: George Sovde wrote in March and again this month to say, “Driving west on SR 308 as you approach Central Valley Road there is a school zone speed limit light. I understand that the school is to the south on Central Valley Road.
“But if you keep going west on 308 there is no end school zone sign.
Or a speed sign telling you that you have left the school zone.

“The only speed limit sign is way past the intersection on the way to Keyport, when it changes to 50 mph.
“The other direction you would assume the speed limit changes when you hit the stop light at Silverdale Way.”

The out basket: Claudia Bingham Baker of the Olympic Region of state highways says, “We have ordered two ‘End School Zone’ signs that will be delivered in a few months to install in that area.

“Our older standards allowed us to either use an End School Zone sign or a speed limit sign to indicate the end of a school zone.  We’ve always had a speed limit sign near there, but the new signage will help clarify the beginning and ending points of the school zone.”

She said the existing speed limit sign is farther away than it should be and will be moved closer to Central Valley Road when the new school zone signs go up.

 

Luoto/Highway 3 on-ramp said site of turning conflicts

The in basket: Two readers have told me there is a problem with westbound drivers on Highway 308 (Luoto Road) ignoring the Yield signs as they arc onto the northbound on-ramp to Highway 3 and endangering left turners, who have the right of way.

Over a year ago, retired Dr. Robert L. Davis, who tells me he founded the emergency room at Harrison Hospital back in 1976, called to say the Yield sign, which requires right turners entering that on-ramp to yield to left turners, was obscured by tree limbs. 

Then last August, after the visibility was improved and a second Yield sign was added, he called again to say, “The other day a guy just about wiped me out at the corner. The signs aren’t doing any good, they need a stop sign there.” 

Walt Barrett of Poulsbo told me something similar at a recent social event, saying right turners don’t have to slow down much to make the corner and many don’t. He wondered who would be at fault if there were a collision between right and left turners onto that ramp. 

The out basket: State Trooper Krista Hedstrom says the driver who passed the Yield sign without yielding and then collided with a left turner would be at fault, barring some egregious contributing factor by the left turner, like not having headlights on at night.

My experience is that most freeway on-ramps are wide enough that there is room to dodge another car even if its driver was careless and in violation of the Yield sign. And the inconvenience at and after collision even if one is in the right makes it worth doing.

Steve Bennett, traffic operations engineer for the state’s Olympic Region, said the second Yield sign actually was supposed to be a “Yield Ahead” sign and they will change it. Both are visible simultaneously, so I can’t imagine that makes much difference.

Krista says there are not many, if any, collisions at that spot due to failure to yield, nor do they get many complaints about collisions narrowly avoided there. So an unusual step like replacing the Yield signs with a stop sign is all the more unlikely.

They will cite for failure to yield when they see it, though, she said.

How about using inactive Keyport signal elsewhere?

The in basket: Harry Godwin of Bremerton commented on the September Road Warrior about why the traffic signal at Highway 308 at Central Valley Road had been blinking red and yellow.

“The answer was that a new switch was required

for this intersection (and) that this could be a funding

problem as replacement of the switch was not in the budget,” Harry recalled.

“Just a short distance from this intersection is an inactive traffic signal

that once controlled traffic in and out of a side gate to (the) Keyport

naval base. The gate is closed and barricaded, indicating that in the post-911 years, the gate will never be used as a point of egress to the base

again.”

 Harry suggested the state use that light and/or its controls at 308 and Central Valley.

The out basket: Actually, says Don Anders of the Olympic Region signal shop, that answer was that “we may have to replace this unit, but our crew was able to make repairs and the cabinet has not been in flash since these repairs were made. 

“I also mentioned that the cost of a replacement was prohibitive at this time, but if we could come up with a good reliable used unit we would replace this unit.  

“I know that early next year we have a project on SR 161(in Pierce County) that will free up a cabinet that we can use at this location,” he said.  

“The cabinet that Harry points out belongs to the Department of the Navy and is not ours to use, and I know from past practice that the military does not give up inventory easily.”  

 “We have not had any problems since the repair was made and I feel we can get by until next year when we can replace the cabinet.” 

Highway 308 signal having trouble

The out basket: Mike McDermott of Poulsbo writes that at least twice in the first week of September, “the traffic signal at Central Valley Road and Highway 308 (the road to Keyport) was flashing red instead of their usual red/green/yellow sequence. 

“This intersection is usually busy, even on weekends without the Navy traffic to Keyport,” Mike said. “At first, I thought it must be a glitch, but if this was done on purpose i want to know.

“This is a potentially dangerous intersection,” he said. “Because of the hills and curves that approach it, visibility of approaching traffic from the other directions is limited.”

At 11 a.m. one Sunday, he said, “when I approached the intersection, cars in three directions were just sitting there. No one was moving because no one could figure out who got there first.”

He wondered who he could call to find out what is happening with the light.

The out basket: Don Anders of the Olympic Region signal shop for state highways says, “We are having problems in this signal cabinet and our crew has been working with it to solve the problem.” They go to all-way flashing red when the problem arises or they are working on it. 

“This cabinet is over 20 years old and may have to be replaced,” Don said, “but a new unit is $25,000 and we are trying to fix the problem before we (have to) replace it.  As we all know funding is very tight for the state and we are working hard to do the right thing.”

People like Mike with a concern about a signal on a state highway in the region can call him at  (360) 357-2616, Don said.

The rules at all-way stops apply when all four directions have a flashing red. The topography Mike describes at 308 and Central Valley is difficult, but all drivers stopped at the light can easily see one another. If they are too timid to sort it out among themselves with eye contact, a wave of the hand and/or a cautious start by one of the cars, all drivers must yield to a car on their right. With only three cars stopped in the situation Mike describes, one of them will have no one to the right and should start first.