Tag Archives: Holly Road

Seabeck Highway pavement patching called ‘horrible’

The in basket: Craig Ellis says, “There appears to be some paving work that has yet to be done on
Seabeck Highway in and around the new roundabout at the intersection of Seabeck Highway/Holly Road. I am under the assumption that this paving will be taking place over the next few days.
“My question has to do with how far this paving will extend. As you
are aware, (Puget Sound Energy) tore up the center lane of Seabeck Highway all the way from Triangle Auto Repair near Chico to the Holly Road intersection. When they were finished, what we were left with is a
patch of paving running down the center of the lane that is in a word … horrible. When I’m on my motorcycle, I actually have taken to going all the way down to Newberry Hill Road to get to Holly because
that stretch of road is actually dangerous.
“So my main question is …. during this paving project window on
Seabeck Highway, will it extend all the way down to Chico to correct
the paving job that currently exists?”

The out basket: The stretch from Northlake Way to Calamity Lane will be repaved in the one lane that was trenched and repatched, but it’s not part of the county’s project.

The county found that the patch job in the westbound lane of Seabeck Highway did not repair the highway adequately and is requiring PSE to grind out the existing pavement surface and repave it. Dale Robinson, PSE engineering planner for this area, says they want it to be finished by year’s end, much sooner if possible.

I wondered if the undergrounding of the power lines would permit removal of some or all of the power poles, and the answer is no. One of two circuits running out of the Chico substation and serving Holly Road and beyond will remain on those poles, as will cable and phone lines.

Dale said three power poles were removed, but that was to make way for the roundabout the county just built where Seabeck Highway and Holly Road intersect,

The county’s job will pave both lanes radiating out from the roundabout for a short distance.

Comparing roundabouts and traffic signals

The in basket: Al Shelborne of Kingston wants to know the cost comparison of traffic signals versus roundabouts , such as the one being built at the intersection of Holly Road and Seabeck Highway.

And Cindy Warwick of Seabeck spoke for what I’m sure are a number of skeptics that a roundabout is a good idea there. “Are they crazy?” she asked. “This roundabout thing isn’t going to work.”

The out basket: Cindy didn’t get a lot of comfort from me, as I have come to regard roundabouts as a major improvement in traffic control. Like yellow flashing left turn signals, they save a lot of waiting and idling, from a driver’s perspective. We’ll get to the Kitsap County’s perspective in a moment.

There is a learning curve with both, of course, and my stepdaughter, Ronda Armstrong, who lives out there, says she has seen a few drivers at the under-construction roundabout on Seabeck Highway turn left into it from Holly Road to go toward Silverdale, rather than going around to the right, as is required.

It’s hard to understand how a driver could be that unacquainted with roundabout driving with so many of them being built, so maybe those folks just decided to take advantage of the incompleteness of it all to save a second or two.

Anyway, about comparative costs. The county did a direct comparison of a roundabout and traffic signals before it built the Newberry Hill-Chico Way-Silverdale Way roundabout and found the signals to be slightly more costly. I wrote at the time that that analysis probably wouldn’t persuade a roundabout-hater, as there were a lot of variables and assumptions.

This time, they didn’t bother with such a cost comparison (sorry, Al) , and hang their hat on the greater safety and lower ongoing maintenance and operation costs.

Here’s how Tina Nelson, the county’s senior program manager puts it:

“The county conducts a traffic study for every Roads Capital Improvement Project. Typical study elements for an intersection are operation and safety. The data collected told us that traffic control was needed at the intersection to improve the flow of traffic.

Ronda steps in to put a little meat on the bones of that assertion. She says cars coming toward Holly Road from the north are in a curve and often travel at a speed that leaves those waiting to pull out from Holly Road uncertain whether they dare go in case the approaching driver doesn’t turn right onto Holly, as most of them do. If they guess wrong and pull out, a serious T-bone accident can result

Back to Tina. “Our primary improvement in the past has been to install a signal,” she said. “Now with roundabouts and their advantages, we seriously consider them as an alternate to signals. Roundabouts don’t have the maintenance and operations requirements that signals have and they nearly eliminate severe collisions.

“On the flip side they typically require more land space than a signal does.

“The county policy is that: “When an intersection meets all-way stop and/or signal (criteria), roundabouts should be considered as an alternative. Based on the policy, a roundabout ended up becoming the recommended alternative.

“The traffic study specifically determined that: a roundabout would provide a better flow (operation) of the intersection than a signal and channelization, and that it would offer greater reduction in the frequency of injury crashes, and particularly in severity of crashes,” she said.


Roundabout coming to Seabeck Highway & Holly Road

The in basket: My step-daughter, Ronda Armstrong, of the Lake Symington area says there has been trenching work going on where Holly Road ends at Seabeck Highway and the rumor in the area is that a roundabout will be built there.

I found a difficult-to-decipher mention in the county’s six-year road improvement plan (TIP) of $1.6 million in improvements to that intersection in 2015, but no mention of a roundabout. And the weekly road report made no mention of the trenching work when I looked.

The out basket: The rumor is true, says Doug Bear of Kitsap County Public Works.

“The work being done there currently is under-grounding of utilities in preparation of the intersection improvements next year,” he said. “The project was on the road report previously but slipped off last week. I’ve reposted it.

“The project you referenced in the TIP is the intersection improvement project at that location. Part of that project is determining what improvements would be most effective there. The engineers evaluated different options and a roundabout is considered the best approach to improve that intersection. The rumor is correct!”

The listing in the TIP won’t be modified to show the planned roundabout until the next TIP is approved by the county commissioners at the end of the year.

Mismatched speed limits past two county parks are questioned

The in basket: Two readers have asked about what appear to be misplaced 25 mile per hour speed limit signs in front of two Kitsap County parks, where speed limits are reduced in the summer.

The usual thing is for any sign lowering the speed limit in one direction will be posted directly across from the sign raising it in the other direction.

Jeff Griswell says that is the case on Holly Road east of Wildcat Lake Park. But “on the west side (closer to Camp Union) of the speed zone, the 25 mph sign (heading east) is not directly across from the 40 mph sign (heading west).” It’s across  from the sign warning of a reduced speed zone coming up.

Greg Buher notes the same thing at Long Lake County Park on Long Lake Road.

“Why is the 25 mph zone over twice as long in the southbound lane than it is in the northbound lane?” Greg asks. “For the life of me, I can’t figure this out! I travel this section daily and have observed southbound vehicles speed up at some vague or imaginary point after complying with the 25mph zone for a little while.

“Often, when traveling south, I end up with a car behind me who is ignoring the ‘extra length’ part of the zone,” he said. “There is only one driveway from where the northbound zone starts and the southbound zone ends, so I can’t see the need for this extra length.”  It’s been that way for a few summers, he said.

The out basket: Jeff Shea, traffic engineer for Kitsap County, says,”Both of these are related to the sharp curves in the road that follow the speed zone. We don’t want to mislead drivers by placing a speed limit sign between an advisory speed warning sign and the curve it is placed for.

“We generally place the regular speed limit sign right after the curve. The criteria for the speed advisories have changed in the new (federal manual), so we will be reviewing these two locations to see if the advisories are still needed.  If not, we will move the regular speed limit signs closer to the speed limit change.”

Left-turn lane, street light requested at fatal accident site

The in basket: Roy Lundeen wrote to say he thinks the Holly Road/Wildcat Lake Road intersection, scene of a fatal accident involving a left turner last year, needs a left-turn lane and better lighting.

“If you are turning left from Holly Road onto Wildcat Lake Road (Lakeview Ave) and there is oncoming traffic,”  he said, “while you wait, the traffic you are holding up tends to pass you on the right shoulder, oft times not slowing down much.

“This is particularly noticeable at quitting time in the afternoon,” he said. “Since this turn is at the nearly 90-degree bend in Holly Road, the reduced sight distance/reaction time only increases the probability of a serious accident,” he said. “I feel like I have a bulls-eye target painted on my back.”

As for a street light, he said, “During our dark, drizzly, foggy winter nights it is very difficult to see where Wildcat Road actually is.  If the resident who lives near that intersection has his yard light on, that is very helpful, but it is not his responsibility to light up this intersection.”

The out basket: Doug Bear, spokesman for Kitsap County Public Works, says, “This intersection is one of about 20 around the county that we expect to receive illumination as part of a federal safety grant issued in 2009 known as High Risk Rural Road Program funds. We are in the process of finalizing the locations and designs, and hope to start construction within the next six months.”

Bill Edwards, transportation operations engineer for the county, handled the other part of Roy’s suggestion, saying that.the intersection is under study, but there are no immediate plans to revise it. There is nothing yet on the county’s road plan for the next six years scheduling work there.

“We are doing further engineering studies to determine if left-turn channelization is warranted at the intersection,” he said. “That study is scheduled to be complete in early October. If improvements are warranted, we will consider it in our next round of proposals in early 2011. We have already completed scoring projects for 2010.”

So will last year’s death increase the chances for a left-turn lane there? Jeff Shea, county traffic engineer gets that one.

“We certainly consider all reported accidents when evaluating intersection concerns,” he said. “A fatal collision doesn’t automatically trigger a mitigation project. Some fatal accidents involve driver error which we cannot always engineer a fix for.

“In this case, the (criteria) for a left turn lane are the number of turning vehicles versus the total traffic and opposing traffic. Once the project meets the (criteria), it competes for funding with the other proposed transportation improvement projects. The recent fatality there, as well as the complete accident history, is one of the many factors considered to determine which projects get funded each year.”