Tag Archives: Lebo

Help on the way for Lebo Boulevard

The in basket:  Mike Dalzell asks, “When, if ever, is Lebo (Boulevard in Bremerton) going to be repaved. If it’s not the worst

street in Bremerton, I’m not sure what would be. It’s terrible to drive on and even worse on a bicycle.

“You can tell immediately when you transition

from Tracyton Beach (Road) to Lebo where Sheridan Ts into it and then again when you get past the community center.”

The out basket: Tom Knuckey, Bremertons’ city engineer, says, “We have a significant reconstruction project under design right now for Lebo from the connection with Lower Wheaton Way north to the city limits.

“Our plan is to bid and construct the project next year.  The project will have similar scope to the Lower Wheaton Way project we recently completed (bike lanes, sidewalks, pavement, illumination, etc.,) but will have shared use paths in places also.

“We’ve had a couple public meetings to coordinate the scope, and will have another in September (or thereabouts) after we’re received and commented on the 30 percent design,” he said.

Signal replacement at Lebo & Old Wheaton questioned

The in basket: Luella Pellman asks, “Why did they take the stop light out near the hospital at Lebo and Cherry (in Bremerton) and put a four-way stop there?  Seems like a very busy corner for just stop signs.”

She wonders if the signal will be replaced.

The out basket: Not unless the corner gets a lot busier.

The old signal there had a lot of problems due to age, with intermittently non-functioning traffic detectors in the pavement sometimes creating long delays for those waiting for the signal to change.

In designing the improvements under way on Old Wheaton Way, “We completed an analysis of the intersection and found that (our criteria) did not require the signal to be there,” says Bremerton city street engineer Gunnar Fridriksson.  “Signals are expensive for installation, typically about $350K,” he said, “plus yearly maintenance and electrical expenses. So if we do not need them – we are removing them and saving those costs.

“We are installing new conduits, just as we did at Sixth and 11th on Pacific so should the signals be needed in the future, we do not need to tear up the roadway to construct it.”

The Road Warrior has been through the intersection several times since the signals were removed and I have found it to be an improvement, with little backup of traffic and no waiting for a signal to change. I’ve not been there at rush hour, but at mid-day, the all-way stop is very effective.

Gunnar also passed along an analysis of traffic signals that said they are not the panacea for all problems they’re often taken for. Among their shortcomings can be detouring traffic onto less-desirable streets when drivers try to avoid the signal, and rear-end collisions. You can see it yourself at http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/htm/2009/part4/part4b.htm#section4B02

Looking for details in Lower Wheaton Way project

The in basket: With work beginning on the improvements to Lower Wheaton Way in East Bremerton between the Manette Bridge and Lebo Boulevard, I had some questions I hadn’t seen answered otherwise.

Notably, I wondered whether yellow flashing left turn lights will be added to the Lebo-Old Wheaton intersection in the shadow of Harrison Medical Center and whether the flashing lights that will call attention to pedestrians in the crosswalk at 18th Street and Old Wheaton will be like the ones in downtown Port Orchard, with lights in the pavement.

I also wondered how they made up the shortfall of a couple hundred thousand dollars they were talking about last winter in paying for the project.

I had suggested that they could save a bundle by keeping the north side sidewalk, which could be widened just by scraping off dirt and vegetation that had accumulated on it. I didn’t really expect them to go for that, but I asked if that sidewalk will be replaced along the entire length of the project.

The out basket: Gunnar Fridriksson, managing engineer for Bremerton streets, says there no longer will be a signal of any kind at Lebo and Old Wheaton, which will be converted to a four-way stop, probably today.

“The removal of the signal at Lebo is permanent,” he said. “There is not sufficient traffic to justify keeping the signal. We will be reusing the poles (as we did at 6th and 11th on Pacific) to hang illuminated street signs for the intersection and rebuilding all the sidewalks/ramps, as well.”

The 18th Street crosswalk flashers won’t be in the pavement, but on poles at each end of the crosswalk, like those Kitsap County has installed at Foster and Central Valley roads and numerous other places. They will flash “when activated by pedestrians using a push button,” he said. “Because of the tree canopy in this area, this system will be hard wired versus using solar panels.”

Sidewalks on both sides of Old Wheaton will be replaced and the one on water side will be widened to 10 feet.

They used some money set aside to match grants that may be forthcoming later in the year to fill out the Lower Wheaton Way project budget, but hope it won’t all be needed, he said.

“We are working with the contractor to see if there are cost savings to be realized by making some changes to the features so we can put the money back,” he said.

“We relooked at the street lighting and believe using a single fixture pole instead of the dual as originally bid will work just fine.  Plus possibly revising the (asphalt) overlay by reducing the thickness, using fencing instead of Jersey barrier at Schley Canyon, and a number of other options.”



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.”

Old Wheaton and Lebo could use yellow flashing lefts, says reader

The in basket: Joan Wright e-mailed to say, “The intersection of Wheaton Way and Lebo Boulevard (in Bremerton), heading north, would be so much better to have a flashing yellow light to turn left when no one is waiting, going in either location.

“It seems to stay red so long as we sit, sit and sit some more.  This seems to work very well in other locations and we can all move forward with a flashing yellow light to turn left,” she said.

The out basket: This is a popular improvement where it has been done, but it requires money that can be hard to come by.

Bremerton was able to add a bunch of the yellow left-turn flashers on Sixth Street last year, but got the money from a fund for sewer replacement work on 11th Street. Sixth Street was the designated detour during the work, so use of that fund for a street improvement was permissible. Once the flashing lefts were in, the city kept them.

The cost of the retrofits varies with the adaptability of the existing controllers at each intersection. The cities here generally choose to spend their street money otherwise.

Gunnar Fridriksson, the city’s managing street engineer said the Wheaton and Lebo intersection will be evaluated as part of the rebuilding of Old Wheaton Way next year, but complete removal of the signal in favor of a four-way stop might be the outcome. rather than  a more intricate signal.

The existing signal’s aged in-ground detection wires are prone to malfunctioning, which may create the waits Joan describes.

Kitsap County introduced yellow flashing lefts here, adding them incrementally in South and Central Kitsap, and most recently in North Kitsap at Miller Bay roads intersections withWest Kingston, Indianola and Gunderson roads.

“All the signals that warrant flashing yellow are complete,” says Doug Bear of Kitsap County Public Works. “The only place where new flashing yellow applications would be considered is new intersection construction.”

There is a new signal about to debut, at Highway 303 and Ridgetop in Silverdale, which is a county project but a state signal and it won’t have a flashing yellow left light.

There is a lack of enthusiasm for the yellow lefts at the state level in the Olympic Region, which includes Kitsap County, and no state highway signal here has them. The state’s position is that lessening the level of control at any of its intersections is acceptable only when the intersection is physically improved in some fashion, including modernization of the controller boxes to allow for yellow flashing lefts.

Jim Johnstone of the Olympic Region signal shop says Kitsap County has led the way on the flashing lefts and his shop doesn’t hear much demand for them from cities and counties elsewhere in the region, where motorists don’t see them.

He notes that the convenience for drivers is offset somewhat by greater danger to pedestrians, who are allowed to cross at the moments the drivers are permitted to turn left on yellow and might not be seen by the drivers.

Broken traffic detector affects Manette Bridge closure detour

Update as of Aug. 22, 2011. I found the light at Lower Wheaton and Lebo/Cherry working fine when I went through it. Gunnar Fridriksson of the city’s engineers says the dry weather may have temporarily corrected the detection problem there, but he would expect it to return with the fall rains.  — Road Warrior.


The in basket: Jim Lawson of Manette thinks the traffic signal on Lower Wheaton Way (often called “Old Wheaton Way) where Lebo Boulevard and Cherry Avenue intersect it has gotten worse not better since closure of the Manette Bridge has increased traffic there.

That intersection lies on the main detour route for former Manette Bridge traffic wanting to reach West Bremerton. It’s always been a key route for Manette residents heading for northbound Highway 303, known as Wheaton Way.

Jim says “Six weeks or longer ago the city of Bremerton changed the sequence so Wheaton Way stays green most of the time. Now at any time of day with no other cars at the intersection, to turn left from Cherry to Wheaton, you sit and sit and sit and sit and sit.“

He also is hopeful the city might take a page from Kitsap County’s book and deploy one of the flashing yellow left-turn lights to allow traffic heading uphill on Old Wheaton to turn left and reach southbound Highway 303 via the Lebo access, rather than waiting for the red left turn light to change.

Jim also described a circuitous route he takes to hasten his trip back to his home from north of Sheridan Road. It takes him down Cherry past Harrison Medical Center to the light on Old Wheaton, where he once again is delayed longer than he’d like before getting to turn left.

The out basket: Those who share Jim’s frustration won’t see the problem rectified soon.

Gunnar Fridriksson, interim managing engineer for Bremerton’s public works department, says, “Timing to the light has not been changed.  The northbound traffic detector loop has failed, which means the signal has defaulted to continually ‘detecting’ northbound traffic” whether there is any or not.

The city knew the loop was fragile when the detour route for the bridge closure was selected a year ago, but hoped it would last until an upgrade of Lower Wheaton Way, for which they have money in 2012. But it failed this year.

Because the problem actually serves the detour by giving uphill traffic more time than it otherwise would to reach the Callahan Avenue interchange with Highway 303, they have opted not to make the repair, which would be costly due to the age of the controller equipment, the condition of the pavement and plans for work there next year, he said.

But it comes at a cost of longer waits on the side streets. At present, when a vehicle approaches on either Lebo or Cherry, the working detector loops on that street sense it, but that just starts the preset countdown before they get a green light, rather than an immediate signal change. That accounts for what Jim sees during his route home via Cherry.

There’s an alternate route to the southbound on-ramp to the bridge reached by turned left onto Lebo, a movement also delayed by the broken loop. But the difference in distance is miniscule. The city and state chose in setting up the detour route last year to send all detoured traffic looking to go to West Bremerton north to Callahan rather than indicating that a left turn on Lebo is an option. “That simplifies directions to the motoring public unfamiliar with the area,” he said.

I didn’t expect the city to introduce a yellow flashing left turn light at Old Wheaton/Lebo/Cherry, as it hasn’t chosen to spend the money on that new technology anywhere else up to now. That is the answer I got.

“No funding is identified to upgrade signal systems,” Gunnar said. “As this is an older system and controller, upgrading would be a significant cost.”