Tag Archives: interchange

Anderson Hill/SR3 interchange no more than a gleam in someone’s eye for now

The in basket: Bill Freitas writes, “Having lived on Rooney Road NW in Silverdale from ’92 – ’00, then moving away for 15 years before returning to the Kitsap County (Bremerton) last year, I’m amazed that there is still no interchange at Highway 3 and NW Anderson Hill Road / Provost Road in Silverdale.

“With all the new development that has occurred between ’00 and ’16, and what is planned in the near future, I would think that an interchange at this crossroads would be at the top of the planner’s list of projects to do before they allow more residential/business development in that region.

“This interchange would also reduce the amount of traffic entering Silverdale from the south, and the Kitsap Mall exits. It would also give people another choice in getting to the Trails Shopping Center…….as well as the nearby residents and businesses that would benefit from it.

“Then of course there is the increased traffic the future new Central Kitsap High School will create.”

The out basket: This is the first I’ve heard this idea in several years, and the last time I think was a preliminary planning process for Silverdale. And I’ve understood the state to be reluctant to create interchanges within three miles of one another, though you’ll see them much closer.

Whether there remains support for the idea in Silverdale, there are no plans for it.

Claudia Bingham-Baker, spokeswoman for the Olympic Region of state highways, says, “There are no plans at present to build, or even to study the effects of building, an interchange at SR 3 and Anderson Hill Road. We would need direction and funding from the Legislature to take on those tasks.

“In general, our goal for minimum spacing between adjacent interchanges is one mile in urban areas, three miles on the Interstate in rural areas, and two miles on non-Interstate in rural areas. The area you referenced is just under one mile from the nearest interchange.”

 

Turning overpasses into interchanges

The in basket: I talked with long-time South Kitsapers Agnes Stornelli and Bernice Ohman at the 95th birthday party of one of their contemporaries, Alice Carlson Larson, recently and they asked me what the chances are that an interchange might be developed at what those of us who have lived here as long as we have call Nelson’s Corner.

It’s midway between the Sedgwick and Mullenix interchanges and already has an overpass, so would just need ramps.

They argue that traffic, especially large trucks, could use such an interchange to reach points along roads like Lider and Bielmeier would no longer have to congest Sedgwick Road  with its long slow climb up from the freeway.

I choose to couch their question in comparison to two other local places with ramp-less over- or underpasses that could benefit from ramps – 144th Street in Purdy and Anderson Hill Road on Highway 3 in Silverdale.

An Anderson Hill Road interchange came up again at the recent public meeting about the planned roundabout at Newberry Hill Road and Chico Way, as it always seems to in long-range Silverdale traffic planning meetings.

The out basket: Prospects for any of the three freeway crossings getting on- or off-ramps in the near future are slim, but the Purdy location stands the best chance.

Ron Landon of the state Transportation Department, says, “I believe putting an interchange at (Highway) 16 in Purdy at144th is an alternative being looked at as part of the (Highway) 302 Alignment/Corridor Study. But we’re a long way from breaking ground on that one. No firm decisions about the corridor study have been made and there is no funding available for design or construction.

“I … doubt there’d be much support for another interchange is this area after we just built Burley-Olalla,” he said, adding that available money is more likely to go toward eliminating at-grade intersections like Burley-Olalla used to be.

“Ramps are added to over-crossings,” he said. “It’s not very common, but it has been done.”

Do we really have to do 10 mph in Silverdale turn?

The in basket:  Peggy and Pat Tillery send an e-mail about a sign on westbound Highway 303 approaching the new urban interchange with Highway 3 in Silverdale, asking “Why is there a yellow 10 mph sign approaching the on-ramp when coming from Waaga Way, where you slow down to 35 and then get ready to head north on Highway 3 at that horrible interchange in Silverdale? 

“The on-ramp heading north on Highway 3 from that point,” their e-mail said, ” is tricky enough without having to slow down to 10 mph only to have to pick up speed to hit Highway 3 going north. Did they just forget to remove the sign when they constructed that area?”

The out basket: No, that is an advisory sign, suggesting a safe speed for making the turn onto the northbound on-ramp to Highway 3. It is not mandatory, as a black on white speed limit sign would be. It apparently anticipates a tall unstable vehicle that might tip over going faster than that. 

In a passenger car, I’ve found that going 10 miles per hour faster than any advisory speed sign I’ve ever encountered will get you through the turn or whatever the obstacle is safely. The 10 mph sign is an excess of caution that drivers of small vehicles normally can disregard.

But even if you choose to drop to 10 mph there, there’s lots of room on the on-ramp to get up to 60 mph for freeway driving, if your car is operating properly.  

New Highway 16 interchange due Oct. 7 opening

 

The in basket: Paul  Morton, who lives on Bandix Road east of the Burley-Olalla Road intersection project on Highway 16 wonders when it will be done and he can get on and off the freeway there again.

I’d been wondering the same thing, since the work has dropped out of sight behind the safety barriers since the contractor and state announced they were way ahead of schedule, opened the lanes over the new bridges and returned the speed limit to 60 mph. I couldn’t tell if perhaps something had gone wrong and the work had slowed or stopped.

And a blogger on the Road Warrior blog at kitsapsun.com asks if the bump as one crosses onto the freeway bridge heading toward Tacoma will be eliminated.

The out basket: Project Engineer Brenden Clarke of the state highway department says work has continued at its stepped-up pace. “In fact, Ceccanti (the contractor) has been working long shifts, including Saturdays, to complete the work to reconfigure the on- and off-ramps to their final profile,” he said.

Those ramps were used for the freeway traffic while the new bridges were built. Since the speed limit went back up, large portions of the ramps “were re-graded along with Burley-Olalla Road to (give) Burley-Olalla a smooth profile and have the ramps come to an angle point as they will come to a stop,” he said. “The slopes off of the ramps were re-graded after removing about six feet of pavement that was used for the detour.” 

“In addition,” Brenden said, “the contractor had a short window to 

complete stream re-alignments into the structures that were 

constructed as a part of this project to remove two ‘fish barrier’ 

culverts.  This work had to be done during August.”

By using the ramps to keep the freeway traffic flowing, albeit at 40 mph, they cut nine months and about a million dollars off the cost of the work, he said.

They have scheduled an opening ceremony for Oct. 7 at 10 a.m. and “hope to be able to open the new interchange after the ceremony,” he said. The final paving of the southbound through lanes is scheduled for tonight and Friday, Sept. 17-18, and will remove the bump at the bridge.

Paul works in Bremerton, and has been using the Mullenix intersection or going into Purdy and doubling back during the closure. Even happier about the reopening of access to Burley-Olalla Road at the freeway, I would imagine, will be all those people who live near the intersection and come and go each day from Gig Harbor or Tacoma. They have been forced down into Purdy where the overworked Highway 302 traffic signal was backing up Key Peninsula traffic even before the Burley-Olalla vehicles got added to the mix.

An oasis in the middle of Silverdale’s interchange

 

The in basket: Among the comments about the new freeway interchange in Silverdale that I’ve never addressed were ones sent in last year by Pete Day and Jeff Griswell. 

Pete wondered in September if there would be any landscaping added to the work. “It would look better than brown, dead grass,” he said.

And Jeff said in May of 2008 he’d been seeing places on two of the interchange ramps that don’t dry out after a rain like the rest of the road surfaces there do. They are on the on-ramp to southbound Highway 3 just west of Clear Creek Road and the ramp from northbound Highway 3 to eastbound Highway 303.

“In my mind, I see freezing temperatures causing ice buildup,” he said. “Also once the oil drippings start to build up, the moisture will cause more slick spots for any one that drives on them.” 

Both comments came to my mind this month when I noticed the project’s large runoff detention pond. Despite what may be a record hot, dry summer, it’s full of water. I think it’s an attractive amenity, but also perhaps evidence to support what Jeff says he sees.

I haven’t heard any complaints about slickness on either ramp, from winter ice or otherwise.

I asked Brenden Clarke, who was project engineer during the interchange construction, what could be feeding the pond in the absence of rainfall.

I also had asked him last year about Pete and Jeff’s comments.

The out basket: There are no funds for landscaping, Brenden said. And his staff didn’t find any evidence of water problems on those ramps.

As for the pond, it’s not as deep as it looks, he said last month. “The bottom of the pond is at ground water elevation, so if there is water in it there should be just a couple inches or so.  The most that could be in there is six inches, because that is the dead storage below the outflow pipe. 

Kitsap County’s Waaga Way extension project “shares this

facility,” he continued. “As a part of their construction they could possibly be doing some dewatering and sending water into the pond.  All the water that

goes into it from (our) project is storm water and with it as

dry as it has been there, should be none at this time.”

Jacques Dean, the county’s construction manager for the Waaga Way extension, said it doesn’t surprise him that there’s water in the pond. The contractor building a sewer line as part of the Waaga Way extension project ran into so much ground water in the 15-foot-deep trench in mid-July that it made it hard to lay the sewer pipe, he said. Jacques estimates that the lowest part that trench is close to the level of the pond. Workers didn’t get out of the water table until the sewer line moved uphill, he said.

I don’t know if all of this adds up to anything important. But at least Pete and Jeff got their questions recognized.

Emergency vehicles can’t change red lights at new interchange

 

The in basket: Don Cocks wrote on July 16 to ask, “How come there are no emergency vehicle traffic light overrides on the Silverdale 303 interchange or at least they are not working yesterday?  

“I was coming from southbound 3 waiting to turn left on Highway 303 to go to East

Bremerton,” he said. “There were six cars waiting, three in each lane when an

ambulance comes racing up lights and siren going, (and) the driver starts laying

on the horn.  

“Just what are we supposed to do, pull out into on-coming traffic? The two cars in the front pulled up and were almost side-swiped by traffic going into Silverdale.”  

The out basket: Emergency vehicles haven’t been able to preempt that signal or the others at that interchange for the past year and a half, says Jim Johnstone of the Olympic Region signal shop for state highways. The reason is the length of time it takes vehicles on 303 to cross through.

 “We have turned off the pre-emption because of the way the signal terminates during a pre-empt event,” he said. “If a vehicle has started into the intersection, especially in the westbound direction, and an emergency vehicle pre-empts the ramp, the green will come up for the emergency vehicle before the traffic has cleared the bridge. 

“This caused several near misses between emergency vehicles and citizens. 

“With our Traconex controllers there is no way to prevent this from happening,” he said, “other than to turn pre-emption off.  Emergency services in the area were notified that the pre-emption was turned off.

 “As far as what the driver should do? I guess the best thing would be to sit still and allow the emergency vehicle to pass, or get out of the way as best as possible. I don’t believe I would pull up into the intersection on a red light.”

Jay Lovato, assistant chief of Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue and Chief Dan Smith of North Kitsap Fire and Rescue agreed that their drivers probably would use the right turn lane to make a left turn when both lanes for left turns have cars in them, and the lights are red.

It’s not uncommon for them to use the center turn lane or even an oncoming lane when no traffic is coming in lights-and-siren situations, Jay said.

Wondering about design of Burley-Olalla interchange

 

The in basket: Jim Thompson of Manchester saw the recent Road Warrior discussion of why the Burley-Olalla interchange project will take two years to complete, and was intrigued by the plan for Highway 16 to cross over Burley-Olalla Road, rather than vice versa. He wondered why.

I mused about perhaps the close proximity of Burley Creek being the reason, or maybe it’s to achieve a “balance of dirt”  that saves money that would have to be spent hauling a lot of dirt in or out.

I went to the horse’s mouth, Project Engineer Brenden Clarke, and learned that my guesses were off the mark.

The out basket: There are two reasons, Brenden said. 

“In order to get Burley-Olalla over Highway 16, a very high and long structure would be needed, due to the steep grade of Burley-Olalla Road.  The structure

that has been designed is very short, taking advantage of the level grade of Highway 16.  

“The other issue was soil stability,” he said. “A structure

requires stable soil for its foundations to withstand vehicular and earthquake loads.  The soil under Burley-Olalla Road on the west side is very poor material and has a very high moisture content (so) is not suitable to support a structure.”  

For those reasons, he said,”it was much more cost effective to

construct a bridge over Burley-Olalla.

And they don’t have a balance of dirt. Even if they’d used soil already there, they would have had to import a million cubic yards, Brenden said. They’ve opted to remove the unsuitable original soil, so they’ll have to haul in 3 million cubic yards.