Tag Archives: Illahee Road

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.

Illahee Road missing a speed limit sign

The in basket: Jim Baker writes, “Just wondering about a recently missing speed limit sign. 

“Northbound on Illahee Road just past the Brownsville Elementary School and Utah Street there used to be a sign restoring the speed limit to 35 mph from 25 mph. It went missing a week or so ago. It is still 35 mph on southbound Illahee from Brownsville Highway almost to Utah – if that’s 35, I can’t imagine that the limit northbound along there should be 25. Makes no sense.”

The out basket: Jeff Shea, Kitsap County traffic engineer says, “There should be a 35 mph sign in that area.” Since the question was posted on the Road Warrior blog at kitsapsun.com in late October, the county has replaced the missing one. 

Doug Bear, public spokesman for public works, adds, “With over 900 miles of county-maintained roads, our crews can’t be everywhere, We count on reports from residents like your reader. You can report missing signs by calling Kitsap 1 (360-337-5777, formerly called the county’s Open Line) or sending email to help@kitsap1.com.

“Reporting downed stop signs is critical,” he adds. “You can report them to Kitsap 1 during regular working hours (Monday through Friday, 8:00 – 4:30.) After hours or on weekends report downed stop signs by calling 9-1-1. Report all other downed signs to Kitsap 1.”