Tag Archives: Bucklin Hill

Early morning troubles at Bucklin Hill and Silverdale Way

The in basket: Dennis Copp writes, “I typically do my shopping early (0600 hrs.) on the weekends, and have had problems with the traffic signal at Bucklin Hill Road and Silverdale Way.

“When I come down Bucklin Hill, eastbound in the left-hand lane, I have to stop at the light in the intersection.  At this early time in the morning there is little to no traffic (major reason that I shop at that time).

“Even though  my car is the only car on the road, the signal does not change to give me a green light.  I have sat at the light for over five minutes, with NO north-south traffic on Silverdale Way and the light did not change. Only after another vehicle came by in the right-hand lane did the light cycle.

“At other times there have been cars in both the right and left lanes and we both sat at the light for an abnormally long time, with no north-south traffic.  It has gotten to the point that I drive several miles out of my way to avoid this intersection.

“The problem at this intersection is probably a faulty traffic detection loop or the detection module for the left-hand lane of eastbound Bucklin Hill.

“It would be nice to fix this, as I am sure that others have been trapped at this signal and I hate to waste gas avoiding the intersection,” Dennis said.

The out basket: Daren Miller, signal supervisor for Kitsap County, replies, “Our signal shop supervisor followed up on your reader’s concern. He went to the intersection and checked all the signal systems and they were working correctly at the time.

“He did some adjustments to the vehicle detection zone which may help.

“We use video detection (not in-pavement loops) at this intersection to detect when a motorist is at a signal.  Video detection can have problems with shadows, fog and other moving objects that aren’t necessarily a vehicle.

“Even if the equipment is working fine now, we do like to check the system out at the time the problem occurred. Sometime in the near future a county employee will drive through this lane to see what sort of problem he or she encounters.  If the system is working correctly and there are no other vehicles or pedestrians around, the longest wait time should be well less than a minute.  I would like to thank the reader for bringing this to our attention.”


Left turns at Bucklin Hill Road spot worry reader

The in basket: Shawn from Silverdale, as he signed himself, says, “I have a concern about a left turn that is being made into the Starbucks parking lot on Bucklin Hill Road in Silverdale. I see drivers turning left into the parking lot between Starbucks and IHOP.

Now the way the little island is set up, it looks to be designed to enter as a right hand turn coming down the hill rather than a left going up. There are no turn markers on the pavement except for the left hand turn onto Bayshore Drive.  Also to make the left turn into Starbucks, drivers cross over a double-yellow line.

“All the time I see many close calls with that turn and have even seen a couple cars almost hit head on.  I have even seen oversized trucks make that turn while running over the curb in the process.

“I have been unable to turn left onto Bayshore Drive because the left turn is full of cars, backed up to go to Starbucks,” he said. “Is this an illegal left turn?

“Further up the road there was a turning curve barrier installed for Levin Road to prevent left turns from Levin.  Is there a possibility of some sort of barrier installed by Starbucks that allows cars to turn onto Bayshore and prevent turning into Starbucks?

“There is a turning spot just about 100 feet past IHOP that goes into the same parking lot, (but) drivers just don’t use it. And I personally believe putting up a sign that says Do Not Enter might be something, but won’t help much, since most drivers are too distracted to see road signs and will still make that turn.

“I just have a feeling that this is going to be a bad accident waiting to happen,” he said.

The out basket: This complain echoes ones I’ve dealt with recently on Lund Avenue in Port Orchard, where right-in-right-out configurations make left turns into and out of them difficult, but not illegal. The turns Shawn is seeing also are legal.

Double-yellow lines don’t forbid a left turn, unless there is a raised barrier, crosshatching between the lines or a sign saying no left turn. There are none at this location.

Jeff Shea, traffic engineer for Kitsap County, says there will be a sign forbidding left turns.

“We recognized the issue before the Starbucks was built.  We conditioned the developer to install a channelizing device at his approach.  But, like similar devices, motorists either don’t recognize it as a turn restrictor or choose to make the left turn against the restriction. It is difficult to construct a true turn restrictor.  The angle has to be so extreme that it forces traffic to practically do a U-turn. That takes up a lot of space and property.

“The property owner is aware of the restricted turn, so placing a barrier in the road is an option.  The difficulty with a barrier is that it blocks turning movements in both directions.  In this case it would restrict movements into Hop Jacks across the street.  Hop Jacks doesn’t have any turning movement restrictions placed on it.  This would restrict their only driveway entrance to a right-in-right-out only access.

“Our Community Development Division is talking to the Starbucks property owner about this issue.  To make it clear, we will install a no-left-turn sign at the turning location.

‘The sign would have to go on the right side of the road.  We may, depending on the success/failure of the right side sign, try to place another no-left-turn sign near the Starbucks entrance,” Jeff said.


Reader has blitz of CK road work questions

The in basket: Wally Carlson has some questions about recent county road work in Central Kitsap.

He wonders why the county didn’t shave the crest of the hill at McWilliams and Old Military roads when it added a left turn lane there. He compared the intersection to “an infinity pool” where he can’t see oncoming traffic.

He asks why the two eastbound lanes of Bucklin Hill Road weren’t continued all the way up to Tractyton Road while the bridge over Clear Creek was being replaced and the road was widened only to Mickelberry Road.

And “while complaining,” he added. “…why use poles and not bury overhead power lines on Bucklin … think that was answered before but i forgot.. money??? not very aesthetic.. only lines in sight,” he said.

The out basket: Tina Nelson, the county’s senior program manager handled all three matters.

“Projects are established based on some kind of need that justifies spending public roadway dollars,” she said. “A big deal for the county is safety, and therefore a safety need is a key reason/need for projects/improvements to take place.

“Locations with high accidents are carefully reviewed and evaluated.  A location may have more than one need; safety (accidents), poor pavement, lack of pedestrian facilities, ADA compliance, capacity, drainage, to mention some.

“We like to, and try to take care of all needs when we do a project, but the dollars only go so far. Significant grade revisions (shaving of the crest) may have large impacts to utilities buried in the roadway and adjacent properties, which are considered in the project scope/solution, bringing up our cost and the costs for others.  Therefore, we may decide to only take care of the most urgent need.

Her answer to question two echoes the one she provided in a July Road Warrior  column when Jonathan McLean asked about the gap left in the sidewalk along the same stretch of Bucklin Hill Road that Wally asks about.

“The limits for the recent Bucklin Hill project were established from Blaine Avenue to the Mickelberry intersection, the highest need,” she said. “Extending the project to Tracyton/Myhre was in the initial plan in 1998, and does make sense, but again dollars only go so far, and we had to end somewhere.

“Plus a minor capacity improvement were made a few years ago at the Bucklin/Myhre/Tracyton intersection, which is what we consider a good example of doing something to help a need, but not get it all done.

“In the current Bucklin Hill project, a transition had to be made from the five-lane section, which is the widening portion extending east of Mickelberry.

Silverdale Water District choose to replace their water main past the county’s project limits. Thereby some work was added, but to stay within budget, and grant approvals, we had to limit the work done.  We ended up with some new pavement and adding extruded curb to manage some drainage issues, but we had to leave the rest alone.

“The biggest need for traffic flow was to get the section completed to Mickelberry.  The added lanes and sidewalk connection on the south side will happen someday, but are not currently in our 6-year plan.

“The new tall poles on the south side of Bucklin Hill are to support transmission lines. Undergrounding of transmission lines is not an option.

“There are no other overhead utilities within the new roadway segment.  Undergrounding of utilities is an expense for the utility owner (Wave, KPUD, Comcast, etc.)  and not necessarily one that the county can demand,” she said.

Bridge project could have used some more sidewalk, says reader

The in basket: Jonathan McLean writes “Granite Constructon and Kitsap County have done a wonderful job keeping the Bucklin Hill bridge project on-schedule.

“(But) I am curious.  Why didn’t Kitsap County have the sidewalk-to-nowhere in front of the Social Security office extended to meet the sidewalk that already exists at the Bucklin Hill and Tracyton Boulevard intersection?

“That stretch of road was completely replaced and had new curbs installed as part of the bridge project.  A new bicycle lane was added through most of the project area but again this stretch was skipped.

“I have traveled this stretch of road in a car, on foot, and on a bicycle many times.  I think completing the sidewalk and bicycle lanes would be a great safety improvement.  Is this in the county’s plan?”

The out basket: Tina Nelson, project engineer for Kitsap County, says, “The Bucklin Hill Bridge Project was meant to end at the Mickelberry intersection.  The ‘rest’ of Bucklin Hill Road from Mickelberry to Tracyton Boulevard to complete the corridor is a future project.

“To make the transition work from five lanes to three, some widening had to take place east of Mickelberry.  Silverdale Water chose to replace their water main, which went beyond the county’s initial project limit. Thereby some work was added, but to stay within budget, and grant approvals, we had to limit the work done.

“We ended up adding extruded curb and asphalt curb (not a full section with curb and gutter, sidewalk and new roadway section) to manage some drainage issues, but we had to leave the rest alone,” she said. “The biggest need for traffic flow was to get the section completed to Mickelberry.  The sidewalk connection on the south side will happen someday, but is not currently in our six-year plan.”


Bucklin Hill Road closure should end on time

The in basket: During my intermittent visits to Silverdale, I come to wonder how the replacement of the Clear Creek culverts with a bridge on Bucklin Hill Road is coming, whether it’s on, ahead of or behind schedule and the likely date for reopening the road.

The county’s Web site describes the work being done each week, but I didn’t find anything about the time line.

It’s easy for me to be blasé about the difficulties the work creates for drivers, being there only every other week or so. Still, from what I’ve seen, I’d rather drive there during the construction that on I-5 on an average weekday morning.

The out basket: Tina Nelson, the county’s senior project manager says the work seems to be slightly ahead of schedule.

“The overall project is on schedule for completion and opening of the roadway in July,” she said, then added, “That is in essence ahead of schedule as we have been planning a 14-month closure, and we are now looking at no more than 13 months.

“The exact date in July will be determined this spring when all unknowns have been accounted for. We have encountered some challenges with the utility work, finding unknown utilities and old timbers, slowing down the utility work and requiring engineering revisions.

“As we get out of the ground, the unknowns are less likely, and we can be more certain of the completion date.  The contractor may be adding hours and working on Saturdays to assure a July completion.

“We have heard from the public that they like to know what is happening, so we started updating the webpage (www.bucklinhill.com) weekly with the activities taking place.”

Temporary signal should have been at Blaine, 2 readers contend

The in basket: Carole Patterson and Ann Emel think the county chose the wrong place for the temporary stop light in Silverdale during the Bucklin Hill Road closure.

“Kitsap County has installed new stop lights at the wrong intersection of Levin and Ridgetop,” Carole said. “The traffic backup is at Blaine and Ridgetop. At 6 p.m. today there were nine cars waiting on Blaine to turn right onto Ridgetop. Is their a logical explanation?”

Ann wrote, “I remember when I first read in the Kitsap Sun that a traffic light was going to be

installed at Levin and Ridgetop, my first thought was it just couldn’t be. Levin would become a dead-end road and Blaine, which  runs behind Safeway, would remain a  through street linking Bucklin and Ridgetop.

“I still don’t see the why of the light at Levin when I see very, very few cars waiting there to enter onto Ridgetop and most often six to eight cars lined up on Blaine to do the same thing.

“Since the light at Levin is now 30 days past predicted install, why couldn’t that idea be scrapped and a new light put in at Blaine where it would serve more cars?

The out basket: Tina Nelson, senior program manager for Kitsap County Public Works, says, “The traffic study that was completed for the Bucklin Hill bridge project did not indicate that a signal at Levin and Ridgetop would be beneficial during the closure. The close proximity to the signal at Mickelberry would make timing coordination difficult, if even possible.

(But) at public meetings the concern was raised and we re-visited the situation. There are several businesses off of Levin and getting in and out of Levin could become a challenge. Therefore we decided on the temporary signal. We did review putting one at Blaine, but that is not access to as many businesses, and having one at each would not work, so there was the decision to add it at Levin.

“Signal equipment has very long lead time and delivery timing is not predictable. (That’s) not unique to us, (it’s the) same across the state and the country.  You may recall the delay in getting the signal running at Ridgetop and SR 303.

“We knew that it was unreasonable to require that the signal be operational by July 1, but we needed to close the road at that time to move the project forward, working with fish windows etc.

“We required that the signal be operational by Aug. 14 in the contract.  Initially we thought that we would have it operational by mid-July, but delivery was delayed, and now it is finally up and running.”


Where’s the Ridgetop-Levin traffic light?

The in basket: In a visit to Silverdale one recent morning, I noted that there was no traffic signal on Ridgetop Boulevard at Levin Road, something I’d understood would be part of the accommodations for drivers while Bucklin Hill Road is closed.

When I returned home that day, I found the following e-mail from Laurie LeMay. “Many hours were spent getting the signal installed and ready to handle the traffic at Levin and Ridgetop,” she wrote. “It was supposed to be ready at the beginning of the Bucklin Hill Road closure.

“Then we heard it wouldn’t be installed until July 10.  Here it is July 24 and no signal is installed.

“All the wires are there and the control box but no actual lights.  Can you find out any information on this?  It would really help the  workers on Levin if they could get out onto Ridgetop.”

The out basket: It’s a familiar story with traffic signal installations – late delivery of needed parts, though this time it isn’t the poles and cross-arms, the usual culprits.

“The hold-up with the signal is materials,” says Tina Nelson of Kitsap County Public Works. “We have everything ready to go but the signal heads. The delivery date has unfortunately been delayed.

“We are monitoring the situation, and are prepared to add a flagger or two if needed at the intersection of Levin and Ridgetop.

“The signal will be functional no later than August 10,” she said.

Will hospital construction add to hurt from Bucklin Hill Road closure?

The in basket: Karen Ebersole writes, “I saw in the Sun  that they are starting a new addition to Harrison Hospital in Silverdale, starting in the fall? Really?  With the closure of Bucklin Hill Road, and now this new construction on the other major road out of Silverdale?  Am I wrong in thinking this is going to be more than a nightmare?”

I asked Kitsap County Public Works whether construction of the new hospital may affect plans to ameliorate the congestion from the year-long Bucklin Hill Road closure and if the hospital has been asked or ordered not to interfere with traffic in its part of Silverdale while the road is closed. The new hospital is to be next to the existing one at Ridgetop Boulevard and Myhre Road.

The out basket: County Traffic Engineer Jeff Shea replied, “We do not have a final mitigation plan for the hospital and don’t know what road improvements may be part of their plan.

“We did have the discussion with Harrison about road work occurring during the bridge project. They are aware that no road work impacting the Ridgetop corridor can take place during the work on Bucklin Hill.”

As an aside, since this column may be the first some drivers have heard about the impending road closure, it is to widen Bucklin Hill Road, replace culverts through which Clear Creek passes beneath the road, and extend water mains to the east of the project. It will begin in July.


Bucklin Hill power pole work not finished

The in basket: I took Bucklin Hill Road in Silverdale the other day just to check out the new power poles that were installed, closing that major thoroughfare to traffic for much of a recent week.

I noticed that each has an array of three arms at their tops with no wires suspended from them. Three lower arms carry the wires the smaller poles on each side of the new ones carry.

I wondered if Puget Sound Energy was planning way into the future or perhaps a power upgrade is coming.

The out basket: Akiko Oda of PSE says six more new poles are coming to Bucklin Hill Road in March, and they’ll match the poles installed during the closure. The three upper arms then will be put to use.

The remaining work will require closing only one lane, she said, with flaggers directing alternating traffic through the closure.

That still leaves a year of complete closure where Bucklin Hill Road crosses Clear Creek beginning this July. The recent closure served as a test of how drivers will adjust to that.

I stayed away from the area of the closure while it was happening, but the traffic between Highway 303 and Costco uphill from it didn’t seem much affected. Nor did I hear much of an outcry from drivers. What say you, readers?

Bayshore left-turn lane on Bucklin Hill Road is hard to see

The in basket: Rosemary Crow e-mailed to say, “The crosswalk signs on Central Valley Road near Fairview school have yellow paint that shows up really well at night. Is there any chance we could get a coat of that paint on the post at the entry to the left turn off Bucklin Hill Road onto Bayshore Drive in Silverdale? That left turn lane is nearly invisible at night, especially a rainy night.

“The white reflector is so old it hardly shows at all. The paint on the curb is also old and hard to see.

“We travel this route twice a week at night and in the winter it is very difficult to see even though we know it is there.”

The out basket: I knew that the water main replacement work in Silverdale still has some excavation and restoration yet to do at that intersection, and I asked the county if the turn could be made more visible then.

Doug Bear, spokesman for county public works, replied, “This is not part of the Silverdale Water project. Our traffic division is looking at ways to more clearly delineate the turn lane. This could include increasing the reflective content of the stripe there, or other strategies to make the turn more visible.

“The fix there will depend on weather and may have to wait for the spring striping window,” he said.