Tag Archives: guard rail

Ruined Silverdale Way guardrail a complicated fix

The in basket: A reader says that four or five months ago, “on northbound Silverdale Way where it curves just before Mountain View Road, someone went off the road and crashed into the guardrail. The guard rail is still not repaired.

“Is there a plan to repair it? Is it due to funding or material?”

The out basket  Jeff Shea, traffic engineer for Kitsap County, says, “We have been working with the residents that abut the end of the guardrail. We have had to install it a little shorter in length because of an approach (driveway).

“We got approval from those property owners to block the abandoned approach. Now we can provide better protection for errant motorists.

“Secondly it takes time to procure the guardrail end treatment. It is specialized and we have to ensure we are getting appropriate end treatment for the location. Parts are on order and the guardrail will be installed when they are received.

Ruined Illahee Road guard rail worked as intended

The in basket: Yvonne Dean wondered if I knew what hit the guardrail on Illahee Road just downhill from Fischer Park in Central Kitsap. It was badly damaged, she said.

The out basket: This didn’t sound like the makings of a Road Warrior column until I went and looked at it. Then I saw that the inner workings of modern guard rails are shown by what’s left of this one.

County Road Superintendent  Jacques Dean said the guard rail worked just as it’s intended to when its end is struck by a vehicle. It buckles, curls and pops loose from its spacers to keep the guardrail from spearing into the vehicle, a possible additional source of injury or death.

He said the identity and type of vehicle that hit this guardrail isn’t known, and the sheriff’s department is trying to identify who and what it was.

Normally, the responsible driver is known from the outset, and the county seeks compensation for the damage through it’s risk management department from the driver or his insurance. Some of this rail may be salvageable, but the repair still could be a $5,000 project, he said.

The county installed a lot of new guard rails on this stretch of Illahee Road a few years ago, using a safety grant, and this stretch is one of them. The others use the same technology, as do all of the county’s new guard rail installations. The county adds a couple hundred thousand dollars worth of new guard rail every other year.

How modern guard rail works
How modern guard rail works

Jump in Illahee Road crashes brings attention, but not guard rails

The in basket: Nikolay Zagorov writes, “At least once or twice a year, vehicles have been loosing control at a 100-foot section at the beginning of Illahee Road northbound in East Bremerton. The place is just after the culvert before Fischer Park Avenue. Cars end at the bottom of a 12-foot sloped ditch, crushing into one of two yard fences or trees.

“Isn’t it high time to place a guard rail or lower the speed from 35 to 25 miles per hour,” he asked.

The out basket: Jeff Shea, Kitsap County traffic engineer, replies, “Traffic engineering staff completed a site investigation and collision record review of this location.  Despite the recent collisions here, the warrants (criteria) for guardrail here are not met.

“We use the same warrants as (the state) when we consider guardrail placement.  The warrants include traffic speed and volume, slope degree, and distance to obstacles in the right of way.

“Collision frequency is not a criteria considered in the warrants. When we reviewed collision history here, we did find three recent collisions. The last collisions before those were in 1997, and only one of the (recent) collisions involved an injury.

There has not been any significant changes to the roadway there that would readily explain why we went 16-plus years without a collision and had three this year. We continue to monitor this location,” he said.

 “One safety goal on all roads is keeping all objects out of the right of way that could hurt motorists.  A guardrail is considered an object in the right of way, and can cause injury or worse to motorists.

“The main purpose is to protect motorists from something that could possibly cause more harm than hitting the guardrail.  That is why we only install guardrail where it is warranted by accepted criteria.

“Based on the characteristics of the roadway, traffic speeds, and collision records, 35 mph is a safe and appropriate speed for this segment of Illahee Road.

“We continue to monitor this location, along with all county roads, in our biennial road safety program.

Guard rail reflectors getting taller

The in basket: I have noticed the appearance of tall reflectors on the fairly new guard rails on Illahee Road on the downgrade to Illahee, on guard rail installed over the winter on Long Lake Road and on Mile Hill Drive just downhill from Long Lake Road.

In some instances, they are right across from guard rail with short reflectors.

Truthfully, I have never paid much attention to what’s on top of guard rail, so I wondered if the tall reflectors are a coming thing.

Once I started looking, I saw some of the tall reflectors on guard rail along Highway 16 down by Gig Harbor, encrusted with age. Obviously, this is not a new invention.

The three roads on which I had seen them are Kitsap County roads, so I asked about them, including whether they might be targets for vandals, as the vertical louvres on the center barrier on both sides of Gorst often are.

The out basket:. Jeff Shea, Kitsap County traffic engineer, says, “The reflectors on the guardrail have been around for a few years. They became a new requirement in the 2009 Manual on Uniform Traffic Devices,” a federal standard.

“We have tried different types to experiment with ease of installation and evaluate their durability and maintenance needs. Also, with the new steel (guard rail) posts we have had to work with a different application rather than simply nailing them onto the wood posts.

“The only requirement in the manual is spacing and a minimal dimension. Both types of reflectors meet those requirements.  The taller reflectors are easier to install and maintain, so they will be our standard as the others need replacing.

“But the traffic world changes frequently and a better device may come out soon that we employ.

“You are correct in that we do see quite a bit of vandalism with the reflectors.  Hopefully the taller flexible reflectors will not be as easy to damage. Time will tell.”

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.”

Oft-damaged guard rail in Gorst to get reflective surface

The in basket: Don Palmer of Gorst says the guard rail in Gorst where traffic can branch off to head toward Belfair or follow the curve to the left to go toward Tacoma is hit and damaged by vehicles so often some changes should be made.

He said it has been damaged about a hundred times since it was built. He recommends that a yellow caution arrow sign that includes a 30 mph recommended speed  be moved closer to Bremerton to give drivers headed toward the guard rail more time to react, and be surrounded by blinking lights to make it more visible. He also suggests spare guard rail be stored behind the one in place to shorten the time it takes to make a repair. It has usually takes about a month to fix it whenever it has been hit, he said.

The out basket: Claudia Bingham-Baker of the state’s Olympic Region public affairs staff said department officials have looked over the situation and “we have decided that the best course of action is to place reflective sheeting on the rail.  “The product we will use is highly reflective and will make the rail standout at night,” she said.  “It will take a few weeks to get the product delivered, but we will install it as soon as we get it.

“We believe the reflective sheeting will be much more effective than moving the turn sign or installing additional illumination,” she said.


Hole at Southworth Drive curve decried


The in basket: Rob Shafer of Port Orchard says in an e-mail, “In the past six months there have been three serious accidents, with at least one fatality, on Southworth Drive between Locker Road and Banner Road southeast of Port Orchard. 

“There is a slight turn to the left as you approach Curley Creek after Locker Road that all three drivers involved in the accidents missed,” he said. “At this point in the road there is very little shoulder and a BIG hole that either stops the car very quickly, or launches it back onto the road. 

“Are there any plans to make this turn safer both for careless drivers and oncoming traffic?” he asked. “Add a guardrail? Fill the hole? Widen the shoulder? Add rumble strips?”

The out basket: It looked to me that just filling the hole would correct whatever hazard exists. But the county plans more.

Jeff Shea, county transportation engineer, says, “A guard rail in itself can be an obstacle near the roadway and is usually a last resort used to protect motorists from other roadside obstacles.  

“In this case the hole is located where a drainage pipe crosses under the road. Our surface and storm water utility is putting catch basins and pipe in the holes then will fill the holes to create a more shallow ditch line. That should address the concerns there.”

That’s not the only work planned there, incidentally. The county has plans for a $2.1 million replacement of the bridge over Curley Creek just a few feet east of there next year, though the work isn’t likely to reach to the spot Ron mentions.

Reader thinks guard rail was put in wrong spot


The in basket: Kathy Broere of Anderson Hill Road in the Lone Rock area is puzzled by the recent installation by Kitsap County of a guardrail across the street from her house, which is in a curve.

“Three times we have had cars in our yard since 2001,” she said, “and our neighbor has had two in the last year.” When the road gets icy, cars loose traction and slide into her wrought iron fence.

She bought and set out some plastic shapes of men with flags saying “slow,” she said, but the county took them away and put up a series of yellow arrows denoting an upcoming curve. But putting the guard rail on their side of the street would have made a lot more sense to her. She doesn’t recall any accidents in which cars ran off the other side of the road, she said.

The out basket: Jeff Shea, Kitsap County traffic engineer, says, “We have a limited budget available for placing guardrails, and we look at several (criteria) as we determine where to place them. The primary factor that drives where we place guardrails is protecting motorists from immovable objects (trees, rocks, etc.) and hazardous slopes. Guardrails are not normally placed to protect private property.”

There is a steep slope on the other side of Anderson Hill Road.

“In the case of your reader’s inquiry, we agree that the intersection she references has accidents in snowy and icy weather,'” Jeff said. “I don’t doubt that there have been instances where her fence has been damaged, or cars end up in her neighbor’s front yard. 

“That can certainly be upsetting,” he said,”but our concern there is someone going over the slope on the other side and ending up with a more serious accident than property damage. 

“Thankfully that has not happened yet, and by placing a guardrail there we can hopefully minimize the likelihood of that ever happening. That is why we placed the guardrail on the east side, rather than the west side of the road there. All drivers are required to insure their car to cover damages caused by an accident, including the property damage described by your reader.”