Tag Archives: Bethel Road

Bethel Road much smoother now

The in basket: I must have stayed away from Bethel Road in Port Orchard for a while because I was surprised to see that a major dig-out and patching operation had been completed, providing stretches of new asphalt where the roadway had been rough and cracking.

Some patches  stretched across the entire roadway and it continued on down to the roundabout at Highway 166. It’s a much smoother drive now.

I asked Port Orchard public works how that all meshes with the overall plans for the Bethel Corridor since the city annexed it. Though the plans didn’t extend past Lincoln Road when it was the county’s project. it’s all inside the city now. On the other end, the work stops just past Fred Meyer, which was its terminus under the county plan.

The out basket: Public Works Director Mark Dorsey says, “Upon annexation, getting the Bethel Road Corridor (SR 166 to just south of Fred Meyer) ‘drivable’ for the next 20 years was a city priority….split into 2 years.

“Last year we did (some) grind-out/repairs, plus a full overlay at Bethel/Lund (since this area does not change in the future.) This year we are finishing up the program with remaining grind-out/repairs.”

A city redesign of the overall corridor improvements is now scheduled for 2017-18, but enough money has been garnered finally to move ahead with the long-planned Tremont Avenue widening, which may absorb the city’s attention for a while.

“The actual Bethel Corridor reconstruction project is scheduled to commence right-of-way acquisition in 2025 and construction in 2027 (subject to change),” Mark said.  “We have a draft conceptual Corridor Plan prepared….but it has not been vetted.”

The Tremont project, the latest grant for which has just been approved in the amount of $1.7 million, is to be done by 2018. It will create roundabouts on Tremont at Pottery Avenue and South Kitsap Boulevard in place of traffic signals, widen Tremont to four lanes to Highway 16, and add underground utilities, pedestrian and bicycle accommodations, street lighting and landscaping.

Odd left turns on Lund raise a question

 

The in basket: Ron Galla of Port Orchard asks whether the numerous drivers he sees turning left across the double yellow line on westbound Lund Avenue just west of Bethel Road are committing a violation.

“When these cars have to stop and wait to cross the double yellow lines because of oncoming traffic, it creates a real hazard to the cars behind them, some times slamming on their brakes,” he said.

“There is nowhere for these cars in the rear to go, as both lanes are usually full of traffic coming off of the Bethel/Lund intersection heading west.

“Then it is also a hazard when they finally cross the double yellow lines because of oncoming traffic, traveling east toward Bethel, not expecting someone to cross in front of them.”

Ron suggests a barrier of pylons like the one preventing left turns out of the Port Orchard Post Office as a solution to the hazard.

“By the way,” he added, “the entrance / exit to that parking lot is not designed to allow this turn, nor is it designed to allow traffic exiting to cross over the double yellow lines and continue west on Lund Avenue

The out basket: I was a little surprised by the question, as the long lines of would-be left turners in the eastbound left turn pocket to head toward downtown there, often spilling out into the inside through lane, are a lot more noticeable than left turners going the other way. I guess just after the green cycles on the signal at Lund there are opportunities to cross the double yellow lines to reach Auto Zone and the other businesses in there.

Ron starts with a common misconception, that left turns across double-yellow lines are illegal.

They are legal in most cases. Double yellow lines prohibit passing, but not turning left.

None of the exceptions that would make the turns illegal – painted or raised cross-hatching between the lines, a raised curb, an 18-inch-wide or wider painted line, or signs saying or depicting “No Left Turn – are present there.

The access configuration designed for right turns in and right turns out make left turns difficult, but not illegal.

Commander Dale Schuster of Port Orchard police says, “Many more vehicles are exiting the parking lot to turn left onto westbound Lund Avenue than those waiting to turn into the lot from westbound Lund Avenue. I do not believe we have responded to a traffic accident at that location due to turning traffic.”

Bethel Road, a year later

The in basket: John Susan says “For many years now I have driven Bethel Road between Sedgwick and just passed Walgreens where Bethel splits with Mitchell. To me it just keeps getting worse every year! Badly sunken manhole covers that you need to avoid, sunken and cracked ruts that are breaking apart and after you pass the light at Walmart, the road is so badly uneven and cracked you can’t find a smooth part.

“My question is simple,” he said, “does anyone in this county care enough to have this fixed!!!

The out basket: Things have progressed slightly since Rance McEntyre and Richard Hood asked essentially the same question in a Road Warrior column a year ago.

It’s no longer the county’s problem, but the city of Port Orchard is trying to do something about it. It annexed the road a few years back and has been trying to find money to make improvements.

But they won’t be the multi-million dollar improvements the county designed when it had the project. Instead, Mark Dorsey, Port Orchard public works director, has

$325,000 to spend on making it a little better this year. The work is being designed by a consultant, and likely will be a series of dig-outs and patching to smooth the roughest areas.

Mark says what will be done where and how much of the $325K will remain when the consultant is done won’t be know until the design is finished.

As for next year and beyond, last year he said, “We’ve inherited a very large problem to deal with, and first we must redesign the (county’s) plan to break it into phases we can get funding for. And we must acquire the right of way, because the county didn’t.”

Now he adds,”There has been no specific city council direction on the Bethel Corridor redesign, other than the public outreach/redesign process will commence in 2015.

“But with the significant changes to transportation funding over the past six years…..I personally do not think the current county-prepared plan is viable in its current state.”