Tag Archives: Central Valley

How pending changes will help at Fairgrounds and Central Valley

The in basket: Ralph Gribbin read a recent article about lane projects coming to the intersection of Central Valley and Fairgrounds roads in Central Kitsap, and questioned some of the assertions made. He wrote to me rather than the existing reporting staff.

“The article states ‘vehicles going straight have to wait for vehicles in front of them to turn left who are waiting for those coming from the other direction to go past,” he said. “NOT SO.  Each direction goes independently from the other three directions, and opposing traffic is at a standstill.

“It also quotes a statement supposedly made by Kitsap Public Works project manager Dick Dadisman ‘There is really nothing wrong the roadway other than turn lanes are needed to get the large volume of traffic through the intersection.’”

“Left turn lanes are not going to eliminate ‘waiting’ at the intersection,” Ralph wrote. “The difference will be the sequence in which each of the eight directions will be waiting. Opposing straight through and right turns will go while while those associated left turners and all cross traffic is waiting.

“The $2 million cost for this change could probably be much better spent in other county road repairs,” Ralph said.

I asked the county to comment, adding that I’d heard discussion of replacing the intersection with a roundabout.

The out basket: Dick Dadisman responded in defense of the expenditure, calling it “a safety and operational improvement project.

“This intersection is ranked 33 of 139 on the county’s high accident intersection list,” he said. “Additionally, with three schools nearby and this intersection located on a county bike route, the safety of non-motorized traffic is also a major concern.

“The proposed project will provide left turn channelization on all legs of the intersection, construct a new eight-phase traffic signal, provide widened travel lanes for improved bicycle safety and construct sidewalks with handicap ramps for pedestrians.

“During the planning stage for this project a roundabout was considered, but it was deemed not appropriate for this intersection.  A roundabout typically requires much more land to construct and sufficient right of way does not exist at this intersection. Additionally, the vertical grades on all four legs of this intersection are not conducive for the construction of a roundabout and roundabouts tend to cause safety issues for pedestrians and bicyclists when compared with a traffic signal, sidewalks and curb ramps.

“Mr. Gribbin’s description of the current traffic signal operation is correct in that ‘split phasing’ occurs on all four legs of the intersection.  This split phasing causes long delays making this intersection operate at an unacceptable level of service.

“Mr. Gribbon is also correct in his operational description of the proposed eight-phase traffic signal. Construction of this project proposes new left-turn channelization on all legs in addition to the new traffic signal.

“A traffic study was prepared where the level of service of the intersection was evaluated.  The study indicates the current intersection level of service (LOS) is F with an average control delay of 95.5 seconds in the PM-peak hour.  For the AM-peak hour the intersection operates at a LOS of D with an average control delay of 47.1 seconds.

 

“Adding the proposed left turn channelization and optimizing the proposed traffic signal cycle length with permissive left-turn phasing on the northbound and southbound approaches and with protected left-turn phasing on the eastbound and westbound approaches, the intersection level of service improves to LOS B.  The control delays will also decrease to 16.6 seconds for the PM-peak hour and 15.8 seconds for the AM-peak hour.

“The decreased control delays are due to left turning vehicles moving out of the travel lanes and into the new left-turn lanes, thereby not choking the intersection,” he said.

Permissive left turn phasing uses flashing yellow lights and protected left turns can be made only with a green arrow light.

 

Central Valley Road project creates curiosity

The in basket: Art Hammond wrote on Aug. 19 , “I am sure that not only am I curious; but countless others must be.  What is happening on Central Valley Road between Fairgrounds, and McWilliams?  I see yesterday a curb was put up. They are clearing off and filling in wetlands, etc. I see they put in curbs in the driveway, too, now.

“Wonder if they are following suit with North Kitsap, and building a school in the wetlands? Any idea??”

The out basket: Art had to explain the North Kitsap reference, which went over my head. He says Kingston High School was built in a swamp.

Anyway, Jeff Rimack, development engineering specialist for Kitsap County, says, “The development along the road that they are seeing is in relation to a plat called Hidden Meadows that is currently issued and being built.

“The hearing examiner required frontage improvements (e.g. curb,  gutter, sidewalk) as part of the land use,” he said. “The only fill that is occurring in the wetland with this development is for the approach road to the development. The houses, streets, play areas etc. for this development, are all located outside of the wetland.

“There are areas that infringe on the wetland buffers a bit, but in accordance with code and the hearing examiner’s decision, they are doing buffer averaging for those areas and adding buffer along other parts of the wetland to maintain the buffer,” Jeff said.

I guess it will be comparable to Madeline Woods just north of there, with the housing accessed by a road through what probably is wetland.

Roundabout at Central Valley & McWilliams not rated highly

The in basket: Several weeks ago, Laura Turner e-mailed to say the the area around Central Valley Road, McWilliams Road, 64th Street and Holland Road is a dangerous zoo, especially around school quitting time and the afternoon rush hour.  She said Olympic High School students use Holland and 64th as a short cut to McWilliams.

Central Valley and McWilliams had been identified in a Kitsap Sun article a year ago as the 12th most accident prone county intersections.

“We need speed humps on Holland and a crosswalk at the minimum at Central Valley and McWilliams,” Laura said. “There are accidents at this intersection several times a year, yet the country refuses to do anything to help the local residents.  Why is this? ”

I spent some time a couple of afternoons watching this intersection during the last weeks of the school year and had to tell Laura that it seemed unexceptional. Traffic was not very heavy, especially coming out 64th onto Central Valley. One school bus let off one child some distance up McWilliams. I saw one pedestrian, on a skateboard.

But since it was listed as among the county’s most accident prone, I asked county Public Works if there are any plans to make it safer. There’s no mention of it on the county’s six-year-road plan, called the Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP).

The out basket: County Traffic Engineer Jeff Shea says, “Last year we proposed a project to construct a roundabout there.  It did not compete well against other projects and did not make it to the TIP.

“The collision numbers at this intersection are trending down,” he said, “and indications are that it will fall well below the top ten collision intersections.  In 2012 there were no reported collisions at the intersection.”

 

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.

 

Apparent paving waste had a reason

The in basket: Two readers – Louis Oliver and Paul Goodwin – thought Kitsap County wasted a lot of money in the way it went about repaving Central Valley Road between Bucklin Hill and Holland roads in August.

Louis said, “If you (go to) that part of Central Valley Road just north of Fairgrounds Road, you will find the road is torn up.

“However, just last week the county ripped up 40 percent of this same part of the road and repaved it.

“This week they are ripping up the same road and redoing it. It appears to be around 65 percent of the road this time and, yes, they ripped out the newly patched parts again, after just a few days.

“Why? Did the county come into money it does not need?”

Paul said he drives down Central Valley Road daily, and observed the patch paving between Holland and Bucklin Hill.

Then, starting Monday, he said, road crews were out grinding out the whole road, including the asphalt they had just laid down.

He thinks it’s a giant waste of money for the flagger, equipment and materials for the patch paving, and “now they are doing it all over again.”

The out basket: As is usually the case, there is a method to what appears to be madness. Don Schultz, Kitsap County Road Superintendent, explains the process.

“Full depth patching on this section of road was completed to a depth of 4 inches,” he said.  “The patches were in response to distressed areas subject to heavy truck and bus traffic.

“A condition review of the existing paved shoulders showed they were still in very good condition, and did not need an overlay,” he said. “This allowed us to consider a partial overlay that can result in significant cost savings.

“If you do not overlay the full width of a road surface you must establish a vertical butt joint at the edge of the paving limits. The process of creating that butt joint could lead a passing motorist to conclude we were grinding out the patches we just placed.

“A butt joint is established by grinding a depth of 1½ inches at the outer edge of the travel way to level near the center line of the road. This butt joint did overlap some areas previously patched. We could have left the patches below grade in the interim period between patching and the overlay, but that would have created some safety concerns.

“Using this approach to limit the overlay to the actual travel lanes and creating a butt joint to support that resulted in saving about 600 tons of asphalt, reducing the overlay cost by $40,000 in material alone. The associated labor costs are also lowered by limiting the overlay to the traffic lanes.

“Some of the fresh patch material was removed, but considering the safety concerns a 1½-inch drop-off would cause in the interim, and the savings created by this approach, I felt the tradeoff was acceptable.

“It’s also important for readers to know that the asphalt we did remove from the patch is ground up and reused as fill material for shoulder work,” Don said.

High speed turns at CK intersection causing wrecks

The in basket: Sharon Anderson wrote on Dec. 3 to say, “It happened again the night of Nov 28 at the intersection of Central Valley and McWilliams (roads) . Someone whipped around the turn from Central Valley onto McWilliams, flew over the sidewalk, and crashed through someone’s fence and landed in their back yard.

“This is the third time that I know of,” she said. “A while back another vehicle wound up in someone’s back yard on Central Valley at the same intersection.  There have been other accidents at this intersection, as well.

“McWilliams is a virtual speed way on many nights,” Sharon said. “Someday, someone will be standing or walking on that same sidewalk or be in their backyard when another vehicle crashes through and possibly injures or kills that person.

“This intersection needs a flashing red light to get people on Central Valley to stop before turning onto McWilliams or some other solution to keep vehicles from turning at such a high speed that they lose control. It is only a matter of time before the next accident.”

The out basket: Jeff Shea, Kitsap County’s traffic engineer, says some signing improvements are the most likely upgrade to happen there soon.

“The number of collisions at the intersection of Central Valley and McWilliams ranks the intersection 16th in the county,” he said. “While that does not make this intersection the highest priority, it does provide a cue to evaluate the intersection for possible improvements in the future. There was an average of three collisions per year during the past seven years.

“This number represents an expected occurrence of collisions compared to similar intersections on a national scale. Based on the traffic volumes through the McWilliams and Central Valley intersection – about 10,000 vehicles a day – that works out to a little less than one collision per 1,000,000 vehicles that enter the intersection.

“The significance of that number is that we can compare it to national standards. So our rate is 0.914 and the national rate for comparison is 0.990. We are in the right range when compared to the national rate.  We have or will be installing some signage improvements at or near the intersection.

“In regards to your reader’s request for a flashing red light four-way stop, we use the (federal) Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. (Its) criteria are very specific as it relates to four-way stops. The primary (reason) for installing a four-way stop is reducing traffic delays.

“In most four-way-stop scenarios, one or two legs of the intersection have to wait an unreasonable amount of time before making their turning movement.

“At this intersection, the major movements do not conflict with each other and delays there are minimal.  Installing a four-way stop (would)require about 6,000 vehicles a day to stop there. Stopping that many cars increases fuel usage, and contributes to air and noise pollution. It also adds to, rather than alleviates, delays to motorists.

Motorcyclist decries Central Valley Road condition

 

Central Valley pot holes
Central Valley pot holes

The in basket: Mitch Hailey of Bremerton e-mailed two weeks ago to protest the condition of Central Valley Road, including with his message several photographs of ruts and pot holes left by a sewer excavation between Alexis Drive and Holland Road. 

“While riding my motorcycle on this road and with no warning, I found myself having to dodge one danger after another and coming very close to dumping my bike,” Mitch said.

“Having just survived a crash where an irresponsible dog owner allowed their pet to play in the roadway unrestrained, I am very sensitive to preventable dangers placing others at risk.  Someone needs to be providing oversight of these construction projects for safety’s sake.”

The out basket:  Jacques Dean, Kitsap County’s project manager and the overseer of this county project by Buno Construction, said he sent the contractor copies of Mitch’s photos and ordered that more attention be paid the condition of the road after each day’s work.

The workers are to make a daily patch of the road they disturb that day, Jacques said, but weren’t taking enough time raking out the hot asphalt mix before it was rolled. Rain and traffic produced the conditions in Mitch’s photos.

The work the day after Mitch wrote was a lot better, Jacques said. 

Since then, two readers have disagreed. 

On Oct.27, Sheldon Cherrey wrote, “Well,  I traveled that road last night. The road is worse than the  

last time I drove it. Possibly due to the rain “

And Louis Oliver wrote Saturday to say he found “that a forest service road that has not seen a grader in over two years would be the smoother of the two. If it is the county that is doing the repairs after the pipe is replaced, the job should be out-sourced. If a contractor is doing the job, they should be fined and replaced. Then I wonder who should pay for my dental work? Yes, it is that bad.”

 

Tina Nelson of the county, filling in for Jacques, who was away from work last week, had this to say about the latest complaints:

“Last week the contractor was directed to spend more time (and money …) on maintaining the patch.  I drove it yesterday, and I thought it was an acceptable patch at the time. 

“The catch is that the patch is only temporary,” she said. “The same trench needs to be dug up again to install the new force main, starting the second week of November, over the gravity sewer that has already been installed.  It is our intent to keep the patch safe, but at the same time be cost conscious. 

“If travelers go slow, allow the extra few minutes, or use an alternate route, we will not be forced to spend additional precious dollars on a temporary patch.  

 “Patience,” she urged. The final product, when the sewer installation is complete, will be like a brand new road surface.  Permanent restoration in Central Valley Road is currently scheduled to start in mid-December, which includes final asphalt paving.  Asphalt paving, of course, is weather dependent.”   

 

 

 

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.” 

Silverdale turn lane work has repercussions

 

The in basket: Susan Day Carlson e-mails to say, “Now that Tracyton Boulevard and Myhre Road are closed for construction, the detour route at Bucklin Hill and Nels Nelson backs up terribly on Nels Nelson at the end of the day for commuters. 

“Can’t the county provide a traffic director during this time?” she asks.

The out basket: No, says Doug Bear of the county public works staff, but the suffering will end soon. Nels Nelson isn’t the official detour anyway, though drivers familiar with the area use it.

“The detour was routed using Central Valley and the signalized intersection at Bucklin Hill because of this concern,” Doug said. “I recognize this adds time to the commute, but the cost to provide additional traffic control, either through a temporary signal or traffic control staff, is prohibitive. 

“The work requiring the detour is scheduled to be completed by (Sept. 25),” he said.

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.