Tag Archives: Clear Creek

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.”

Changes coming near Greaves and Clear Creek

The in basket: Kitsap County will be having a contractor revise the traffic signal at Clear Creek Road and Greaves Way north of Silverdale, where the big new shopping center is under construction. They were to start Oct. 1 and I imagine will add a signal arm for the access to and from the center. I asked if the other three legs of the intersection will be changed.

The out basket: No, says Jeff Shea, the county’s traffic engineer, but the state will be adding a turn lane near there.

“The channelization on the other three legs will remain the same,” Jeff said. “Some tweaking of the phase (red, amber, and yellow) changes will be done to accommodate the added traffic from the center.

“The developer is also working with the state on changes to their signal at the SR 3 off-ramp to Kitsap Mall Boulevard.They also will be adding a second turn lane for traffic coming from SR 3 and making the left turn onto Greaves Way,” he said.

Roundabout idea on Greaves Way ahead of its time

The in basket: Paul Ofsthun thinks the realigned intersection of Clear Creek Road and the new Greaves Way in Silverdale would have been a good place for a roundabout, so that the traffic signal installed there wouldn’t have been needed. 

“It only has three arteries and doesn’t have a high volume of traffic,” he said. “Did the county give this option any thought?”

The out basket: Tina Nelson, senior program manager for Kitsap County Public Works, says, yes, one was considered, but it was an idea whose time had not quite come.

“Design for the new NW Greaves Way project was closely coordinated with (the state’s) new SR3/SR303 interchange design,” she said.  “The evaluation was done by the state Department of Transportation in 2004, and they determined a signal would better facilitate traffic there. 

“Roundabouts were still a relatively new concept for Kitsap County at the time,” Tina said, “and motorists were still getting familiar with their use. Traffic engineering considerations are not necessarily interchangeable between the two options, and in this particular case the decision to use a signal was chosen.

“Since that decision, the use and general acceptance of roundabouts has increased, and roundabouts are often considered instead of signals as new projects are designed. If the Greaves Way project was just starting design today, a different decision might have been made. 

“We currently are considering roundabouts at Lake Flora & JM Dickenson, and at the Silverdale Way / Newberry Hill / Chico Way intersection, and continue to consider their use in future projects and plans.”

“While there are only three legs to the intersection now, it is designed to accommodate a fourth access south of the new roadway at some point in the future,” Tina said.

Greaves Way remains closed and can’t be opened until they get at least three days of dry weather to allow for digging up two small patches of pavement that have settled, recompacting it and then patching the pavement, said Project Manager Jacques Dean. With the uncertainty of winter weather, no  date for a ribbon cutting and opening the new road has been set.  

Was that a propane sign??

The in basket: I was driving blithely along on Highway 3 passing the new interchange with Highway 303 the other day and happened to look up at the signs telling where the two upcoming off-ramps would take me.

On top of the sign indicating the way to southbound 303 was the familiar H that denotes a hospital. Atop the sign saying this way to Kitsap Mall Boulevard was a sign, also white on blue, of a symbol that looks like a propane tank. 

How long has that been there, I Wondered, does it mean propane is available that way, and  why is it there at all?

The out basket: It’s just another example of how highway signs can go unnoticed by drivers who are familiar with the area.

The sign has been there since 2000, says Steve Bennett, traffic operations engineer for the Olympic Region, and denotes that propane is available at Clear Creek RV Center. It is augmented by the same kind of followup signs as the gas-food-lodging signs that are more prominently displayed alongside the highways, he said.

The next time through, I got off at Kitsap Mall Boulevard and, sure enough, there were matching blue signs on the off-ramp and on 303 that directed me to the RV center. I had never noticed any of the three.

There are similar signs all over the region, Steve said, and “businesses that apply for Motorist Information Signing and meet the criteria will be signed on the highway if space is available.”

When the business isn’t named, as on the generic propane signs, the business doesn’t have to pay the same yearly fee that restaurants, motels and such pay, said Gerald Nelson, head of the MIS program.

Have brush cutters missed some NK roads?

The in basket: Jim Jensen of Kaster Road in North Kitsap read the recent Road Warrior column about mowing versus herbicide use to control roadside weeds and said, “It has been my experience that they are doing very little of either.  

“My road used to be mowed at least once a year but it hasn’t been cleared for at least two years,” he said. Blackberry brambles are encroaching into the roadway. 

He also cited Rude Road, which intersects Kaster, and Clear Creek Road as examples of neglect, then said “The portion of Finn Hill that is within the city limits of Poulsbo is mowed but the remainder is not and has not been mowed for several years. 

“I realize that it’s most likely budget considerations causing the lack of mowing, so they should at least say so instead of talking about the mowing and spraying that they do.”

The out basket: Kaster Road is inside the city too, and is described by Poulsbo Public Works Director Barry Loveless as a recent annexation. “So we’ll add it to our list of areas to be trimmed,” he said. City employees do that work. 

Actually, it looks to me like an interested neighbor with a lopper could correct Kaster’s problem.

As for Rude Road and Clear Creek, I didn’t see anything along Rude worthy of mention, but the east side ditch on Clear Creek looks like someone’s alder farm. Alder grows pretty fast, but it looks like no cutting has been done there for a few years. 

Doug Bear of Kitsap County Public Works said, the county has one person in each road shop (there are three) whose primary duty is brush cutting.” We’ll look into his assertions concerning Rude and Clear Creek roads,” Doug said.

 

 

 

Ends of new CK road raise eyebrows

 

The in basket: The new road Kitsap County is building to link the Highway 3-303 interchange with Old Frontier Road has become more than an academic issue for Central Kitsap drivers as its opening date nears.

Art Hammond writes, “I was wondering if you had any idea on when they plan to have Clear Creek Road, repaved and smoothed out, in the the Waaga Way Extension area?  I know that Old Frontier is in a whole lot better shape, than Clear Creek. 

“As it is right now, every time I have to use Clear Creek, my car and I know countless other cars take a beating on the road, as the company did a lousy patch job.  If they did that to Clear Creek, how can we expect the new road to hold up?”

 And Peter Wimmer is concerned about the road’s other end. 

“The Waaga extension where it comes out to Old Frontier has two stop signs and an annoying hard turn put into Old Frontier,” he said. “I can understand signage to alert us to an upcoming light but why a stop sign? And what is the reason for such a hard turn in what was the right of way – Old Frontier.

“It looks like the planners have now made the extension, which is not Highway 303, the main road and made Old Frontier the secondary.

The out basket: Indeed they have. The alignment at the road’s west end is complete, putting the stop on Old Frontier, says county Construction Manager Jacques Dean. It was the same thing the county did in South Kitsap years ago when it improved the Glenwood-Lake Flora road intersection and made Lake Flora the through road, not Glenwood.

The sharp curve is the reason for the stop sign on northbound Old Frontier, Jacques said, but it’s temporary. When the new road, to be called Greaves Way, opens around late October, that stop sign will come out. In the meantime, he said, they wanted to make drivers stop so they don’t lose control making the turn. 

The stop sign on Old Frontier will stay. There’ll be no traffic light there for the near future, although conduit has been put in the ground to accommodate one when traffic counts demand one.

The rugged pavement at the Clear Creek end of Greaves is where a utility trench was dug as part of the project, says Greg Canyer of the county. That entire area will be realigned, possibly the week of Sept. 21, to route Clear Creek traffic to the other side of the large dirt pile visible there. 

The final project will have that traffic meet a traffic signal there for turns onto Greaves. Left turners will proceed down to the existing signal on Highway 303.

All the beat-up pavement will be removed and a lot of it will not be replaced. Schold Road, which serves the Peewee field to the east, will cross through there to meet the relocated Clear Creek Road at a stop sign. The rest will be seeded in grass.

Why 35 mph past old Bangor gate?

The in basket: Bill Peterson of Poulsbo says,”I’m curious about why the speed limit on Clear Creek Road drops from 50 mph to 35 mph between Mountain View Road and Orweiler Road.

“Is this due to the Bangor gate on the west side of Clear Creek?  If so why hasn’t the speed limit been increased with the permanent closure of the gate?  There doesn’t appear to be any denser population between these two roads to justify the decrease in speed.”

The out basket: In January 2007, when Jesse Cook asked the same question, the answer was that Kitsap County wouldn’t raise the speed limit unless the Navy assured it the gate wouldn’t reopen. Tom Danaher, public affairs office for the Bangor base, said simply that the Navy doesn’t discuss security issues like gates, which left the issue in limbo and the speed limit at 35 mph. 

The county says that is still its position. Tom was more expansive this time, and said not only isn’t the old gate closed permanently, but it comes in handy when large construction vehicles that have trouble getting through the serpentine regular entrances at the other gates have to come and go.

Besides, he said, security personnel asked the few neighbors in that stretch what they thought of the lower speed limit and, not surprisingly, they’d like to see it stay at 35 mph, “which is OK with us.”

Parking on Trigger Avenue bridge is illegal

 

The in basket: Barb Frindell asks, “Why can cars park on the side of the overpass on Trigger Avenue without getting ticketed.  They sometimes block the view for the northbound exit turning left. 

“If you park your car on the other roadways, you get a ticket. These people are probably walking the (Clear Creek) trail and there is no parking lot for them but does that make it legal?  

“They need to set up a place for these people to park, instead of on the road,” she concluded.

The out basket: It is illegal to park on any bridge in this state, so those who park on the bridge on Trigger are just taking their chances.

Krista Hedstrom of the state patrol confirms that, and says the fine is $20. I presume that the lack of ticketing arises from the patrol’s higher priorities in addressing known accident causes, though Barb obviously thinks that applies to the parking on the bridge. 

The appearance of this column might make it more of a financial risk to park there for a while.

“I have not heard of any plans to put in a parking area near Trigger,” Krista adds, “so right now the best place to access the trail with plenty of parking is near the skate park off Silverdale Way.”

That, in fact, is the county’s wish, though the convoluted route from Trigger to Silverdale Way, via the new interchange, Kitsap Mall Boulevard and Randall Way, certainly provides a major disincentive for  those coming from the north – and maybe even the south – to meander down to the Silverdale Way park. The park in question is just north of the off-ramp from Highway 303 to Silverdale Way.