Tag Archives: Belfair

Lake Flora Road intersection could get improvements

The in basket: Suzy Lee writes, “I live in Belfair and go to work in Seattle at 4:30 a.m. via the Southworth ferry.  My route is Belfair to Lake Flora Road and on to the ferry.

“This is a recent route for me and I find the intersection on Highway 3 hard to see.  I signal but have had to slow down to see the turnoff.  It seems to me that there (should) be an overhead light at that intersection and, if so, can the powers thar be get a light installed?”

The out basket: Steve Bennett, traffic operations engineer for the Olympic Region of state highways, says it might happen.

“For the upcoming session, we are proposing that the Legislature fund the design and construction of improvements at the intersection, that will include illumination,” he said. “We should know by next April if they decide to fund the project.”

How long will Belfair 4-way stop stay that way?

The in basket: Natasha Champion asks, “Do you know if there is a future plan to put in a light or a

roundabout at the intersection of Clifton Road and Old Belfair Highway  in Belfair?

“Currently there is a four-way stop and many accidents and near misses,” she said.

The out basket: That intersection is the state’s responsibility, as it is on Highway 300, the short spur that’s a state highway as far as Belfair State Park.

Steve Bennett, operations engineer for the Olympic Region of state highways says the Statewide Intersection Priority List makes no mention of that Belfair intersection, so no signal or roundabout is planned there for the foreseeable future.

I’ve never had much trouble getting through there, though I noticed it was considered enough of a problem that law enforcement was directing traffic through it when the Clifton Lane leg was blocked for the recent Taste of Hood Canal. That probably had to do with the greatly increased pedestrian traffic that day.

Belfair Elementary traffic signal never changes to red

The in basket: Donna Mae Floyd of Belfair hopes the traffic signal in front of Belfair Elementary School might turn red for Highway 3 traffic more often to give drivers trying to get onto the highway from side streets some breaks in traffic.

“The problem,” she said, “is that the signal controlling the north-south flow of traffic adjacent to the grade school, is ALWAYS green. I have yet to see it turn red, so the traffic flow is constant…with no relief.

“Any time after 2:30 Monday through Friday, entering and exiting from one of the many side streets is virtually impossible,” she said.  

“That is the time of day the traffic (particularly heavy coming home from work in Bremerton) going through Belfair is bumper to bumper.  There is rarely a pause in either direction,” she said, “unless there IS a back up and some kind soul stops long enough to let a car enter from a side street, where it will hopefully be able to avoid a collision with a car coming in the opposite direction of the stopped vehicle! 

 “Pity the person who leaves the library (on the west side of Highway 3) and tries to turn north to go back home and ends up playing ‘dodge ball’ and making a two-minute task turn into a 15-minute wait just to get on his or her way.”

“Wouldn’t it make sense to monitor traffic at the school location and adjust the ‘stop and go’ timing during the busiest time of the day? ”    

I asked Jim Johnstone of the Olympic Region signal shop if they ever schedule a signal to turn red simply to provide a break in heavy traffic.

The out basket: First, Jim explained why that signal never changes.

“(It) is a pedestrian crossing signal for the school and is only triggered by the need of a pedestrian (school child in most cases) wanting to cross the road,” he said. “This signal has no vehicle detection and is not intended to control side street traffic.” 

Using red lights to create breaks in traffic is not something they’ve ever done, he said. Trying it with the Belfair light “is very unlikely since it goes outside of our normal protocol, which would be a decision for higher ups to make,” he said.

Donna Mae might want to propose her idea to her legislators to see what they can accomplish.

Gas tax campaign claim and the Belfair Bypass


The in basket: Carol McCormack e-mails to ask about the status of the Belfair Bypass, a proposed alternative route for Highway 3 that would take most of the traffic out of downtown Belfair. 

“When we voted in the gas tax, we were led to believe that it would fund the bypass here,” she wrote. ” I’m sure that was the main reason that many of us here voted for it.  

“Traffic through Belfair is getting to the place where it’s next to impossible to get onto Highway 3 during rush hour.  What has happened to starting the work as we were led to believe?”

The out basket: Bill Elliott of the Olympic Region for state highways replies.

“After much research, I can’t find anything to support the claim that the entire bypass could be funded with the past gas tax vote,” Bill said. He said he found some wording, included in a 2006 legislative project description, that at first creates that impression, but then goes on to make clear that the gas tax funding available will complete only the environmental requirements and design, he said.

It’s unlikely that’s the source of Carol’s expectation anyway. We often hear, after the fact, of claims supposedly made to support ballot measures (the lottery would eliminate special school levies, the leg hold trap ban wouldn’t apply to moles) that prove untrue. But I don’t know of anything subsequently being found in the official legal supporting documents that made the false claims. If the assertions were made, they came from unofficial politicking by supporters.

In this case, Bill said, the official document he found says the voted gas tax will provide, “construction of a new alignment around the town of Belfair to reduce travel time. The state investment will provide the resources to complete the environmental process, identify all right of way required and complete design, including contract plans ($15 million).”

The project has no construction funding, Bill said. “Our estimate of construction cost is $52 million. Our total project cost estimate is $71 million. So, we believe the project is currently in need of $56 million in additional funding before it could be built.”

A document handed out at an October update meeting held in Belfair can be seen online at  http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/projects/sr3/belfairbypass/.

And a proposal from Donna Mae Floyd of Belfair of a way to make the downtown traffic crush more tolerable is the subject of the adjacent Road Warrior column.

Detection temporarily out at Belfair signal


The in basket: Julie Burghardt of Allyn asks “What’s the reason for the change in the light cycle for the traffic light at Highway 3 and NE Clifton Lane in Belfair? 

“For the overnight cycle, the light used to stay green for Highway 3 traffic unless a car on Clifton needed the green. Beginning about a month ago, the light now stays green for Clifton unless traffic on Highway 3 triggers a green.  Needless to say, the light is being triggered a lot more often now than it used to be. 

“I’m hoping this is an inadvertent or temporary change, or if it isn’t they can at least speed up the trigger response time.”

The out basket: It has to do with construction going on at that location, says Don Anders of the Olympic Region signal shop for state highways. No detection system is working for Clifton traffic. “The side road loops have been cut,” he said.  “We will have this approach on fixed time until the new loops are repaired and the signal will serve this approach even if no vehicles are present (until then).  This is a temporary condition, but I am not sure how long it will be before the contractor gets the loops installed.”

After eading this on line, on the Road Warrior blog at kitsapsun.com, Joe Myall asked if the same thing explains the odd behavior of the Sidney and Bay Street light in downtown Port Orchard. Good guess. The detector cables are cut there, too, while a whole new signal system is put in, and the lights are on timers until they are redone.