Tag Archives: Callahan

Ruined bridge access guard rail repair due Feb. 12

The in basket: Janice Smith called in mid-January to ask whether the city or county is responsible for the ruined guard rail where Callahan Drive and Lebo Boulevard access the Warren Avenue Bridge southbound and when it would be fixed.

It has been marked off by cones for many weeks and what’s left of it wouldn’t be able to stop much.

The out basket: It was a couple of weeks before I heard her voice mail and that very day a large electronic sign showed up in front of the guard rail suggesting at least the “when” of the repair  – February 12. It says those ramps will be closed that day.

The county isn’t involved and it’s the city’s job. Managing Street Engineer Gunnar Fridriksson of the city told me there had been uncertainty about the responsibility in the past but that was clarified last year.

“I believe the majority of the guardrail in this area dates back to the early 60’s,” he said, “and none of it is looking too good. We are looking to review all guardrail in this area, repair what needs to be, and remove any not required by the design manual.”

Jim Orton, city Public Works operations manager, adds. “We are replacing that section of guardrail on the 12th of February. There will be a detour route initiated while the contractor is replacing the damaged section.

“It took a while to get going on this due to funding,” he said. “It is costing Streets $10,000 just for the damaged section. There is no insurance available from the individual that damaged the guardrail and the vehicle was stolen so Streets is left with the bill.”

Left turns at tricky Clare-Callahan merge are legal

The in basket: Curt Bay says he’s been taking the off-ramp more often lately from the northbound side of Warren Avenue Bridge in Bremerton to get to Callahan Avenue. The same off-ramp also serves Clare Avenue, and he’s seen a number of drivers who had come up Clare and merged with Callahan then turn left onto the northbound on-ramp to Wheaton Way. He wonders if that is a legal turn.

The out basket: It’s an unusual intersection, with two streets served by the same off-ramp, and westbound Callahan going  from two-way to one-way traffic going in the opposite direction at that spot. But yes, turning left onto the on-ramp there is legal as long as a driver on Clare yields to cars coming off the bridge on Callahan, and to any oncoming traffic. A U-turn is illegal, though, as there is a sign there prohibiting that.

Old Wheaton and Callahan proposed for four-way stop

The in basket: Alison Slow Loris writes, “It’s a mystery to me why the Bremerton intersection of Callahan Street with Wheaton Way (Old Wheaton, before it becomes Highway 303) is a two-way stop, with Wheaton traffic unimpeded and Callahan traffic forced to stop.

“Traffic appears equal on both streets. Callahan gives access to 303 and serves several medical facilities as well as cross streets leading to more of the same.

“Furthermore,” she said, “while westbound drivers on Callahan have a reasonable line of sight, Wheaton’s curves make it very difficult for eastbound drivers to see when it’s safe to proceed. Due to the nature of the district, many hyper-cautious elderly drivers use those streets, and it’s not unusual to see several eastbound cars lined up at the stop sign waiting for a westbound car to enter the intersection.

“Wouldn’t it make a whole lot more sense to have a four-way stop there?”

The out basket: Another reader suggested the same thing years ago. I didn’t see a problem then and still don’t, but my travel through that intersection is usually westbound, not the direction Alison says is a problem, and in the early evening, not during business hours.

Gunnar Fridriksson, street engineer for Bremerton, who says he regularly uses that intersection, says the traffic control there is adequate.

Old Wheaton Way had about twice the traffic of Callahan, 5,000 to 2.500 vehicles per day, when it was last tallied in 2001. The federal Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, says, “Multi-way stop control can be useful as a safety measure at intersections if certain traffic conditions exist. Safety concerns associated with multi-way stops include pedestrians, bicyclists, and all road users expecting other road users to stop. Multi-way stop control is used where the volume of traffic on the intersecting roads is approximately equal.”

“These traffic volumes are modest,” Gunnar said, “and we’re not aware of an accident history here that would prompt any traffic revisions. We would need to perform further investigation (new traffic counts, etc.,) to see whether (national standards) are met for any proposed improvements.

“I also drive this route fairly regularly, as our offices are up at Olympus Drive,” he said, “and have not seen a problem.  At this time we’ll log this inquiry from Ms. Loris, and see whether additional requests are made for traffic revisions in this area in the future.”



Do you know the way to Highway 303?

The in basket: Pat Ryan of Brownsville has contacted me twice, years apart, suggesting that more directional signs around the northbound on-ramp to Highway 303 from Callahan Drive in East Bremerton are needed.

At present, only drivers westbound on Callahan have signs showing the way to the highway. Drivers who come north on Clare Avenue, which arcs around as a one-way street in its final couple hundred feet, can see the ramp, and maybe the highway, but are left to put two and two together without benefit of a sign saying, yes, a left turn will get you onto 303.

This year, Pat added that a sign down the hill at Lebo Boulevard and Clare, directing drivers seeking northbound Highway 303 up the hill would also be helpful.

There also is doubt about whether a left turn from Callahan onto the ramp is legal. A sign says no U-turn, but is mum on left turns.

Richard Gonzales e-mailed to say he knows a person who was stopped and warned by a Bremerton officer for making the left turn.

“The is no signage prohibiting the turn,” he noted. “Since my coworker wasn’t cited, can I assume that this officer just felt it was unsafe to turn left there or is it truly illegal?”

The out basket: It’s a legal place to make a left turn, says, Lt. Pete Fisher, head of BPD’s traffic division. He speculated that there may have been something dangerous about how Richard’s co-worker made the turn, perhaps not yielding to a car on Callahan, that prompted the warning.

Larry Matel of the city engineers says this about the signs Pat proposes:

While often times we all might like another roadway sign here or there, signs are deployed based upon a number of factors including traffic volume, complexity of traffic movements, traffic speed, and consequences of missing a turn, as well as economics.

That said, the city of Bremerton has thousands of street signs that all need to be maintained, regardless of the state of the economy. Therefore, we always look carefully at all requests for additional signing placement because the initial cost of the sign is only a portion of the cost of maintaining the sign over the life of the roadway. The costs do add up.

In this specific case, I do not see overwhelming life/safety or convenience issues creating a strong need to add additional maintenance responsibilities to our operations, especially in times of very tight budgets.”

I drove around the area, imagining that I was a stranger to the city coming from the direction of Lion’s Field, and I think a greater need for sign installation or maintenance exists on old Wheaton Way, which gets a lot more traffic.

There are no signs at Lebo and old Wheaton Way showing the way to 303, and a sign up the hill on old Wheaton that is intended to is almost entirely hidden by trees. Even then, it describes it as the way to “Warren Avenue/Wheaton Way,” which a newcomer probably wouldn’t know is also Highway 303.