Tag Archives: Long Lake Road

Tight turns on Sedgwick at Long Lake bring inquiry

The in basket: Ken Hovater asks if there are any plans for installing right turn pockets both east and westbound on Sedgwick Road (SR 160) at Long Lake Road in South Kitsap.

“Turning traffic has to come almost to a complete stop to negotiate the westbound turn,” he said, “and many drivers seem to have trouble making the turn in the eastbound direction as well.”

Rounding the corners would probably help as much if not more than a deceleration lane. I asked the state spokesman if they have noticed the problem Ken mentions.

The out basket: Claudia Bingham-Baker of the Olympic Region of state highways, says, “In the last transportation budget, WSDOT was allocated $200,000 to study the SR 160/Long Lake Road intersection. The study will consider ideas such as building a roundabout, adding a signal, building possibly two roundabouts at connecting roads to allow traffic to reverse directions, and other options to improve traffic flow.

“The study will begin in the next couple of months. During the study we will solicit feedback from Port Orchard, Kitsap County and other stakeholders,” she said.

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.”

Spray truck wasn’t just watering the shoulder

The in basket: I spotted a county vehicle spraying the shoulder of Long Lake Road as it turned onto Woods Road the other day. It was a good sized pickup truck with a good sized tank mounted on it. My wife noted that the wording on the tank read, “Water Only.” It hadn’t sprayed anywhere else along Long Lake Road.

It seemed unlikely that they were watering the corner. I asked if there was a herbicide tank out of sight on the truck and how many such trucks the county has.

The out basket: Two smaller chemical tanks, actually, says Jacques Dean. county road superintendent. “The chemicals are injected into the water at specified proportions as the water passes through the pumps,” he said.

“We have two spray trucks that are set up the same and cover the entire unincorporated county,” he continued.

“Shoulder spraying must be done during dry weather and without wind.  As such, shoulder spraying typically begins in mid-March when we have a shot at dry weather.

“Most areas outside of road shoulders within county jurisdiction, such as the corner of Long Lake and Woods, are managed by mechanical means…in other words…they are mowed.  Mowing occurs all year, however, we will wait until later in the spring for those areas where we are encouraging native growth as a means to force out undesirable non-native, or invasive species.

“We typically spot spray, by hand, non-native and invasive species, unless there is a significant contiguous area of undesirable growth,” he said.

I know this can be a hot button issue for counties and others responsible for visibility on the roads. Kitsap has a Web site devoted to the issue of vegetation control than can be seen at http://www.kitsapgov.com/pw/pdf/2028_veg.pdf

An entire section is devoted to “Herbicides on County Rights of Way, a small portion of which says, “Employees who apply herbicides are trained to use the latest technology and application methods. Employees applying herbicides hold an application license and attend on–going training. We keep a complete record of all herbicide applied.”

Need for Long Lake Road guard rails questioned

The in basket: Dave Dahlke of Port Orchard writes, “I have noticed new guardrails installed along portions of the Long Lake Road.  I was wondering what determines where the need is for guardrails.  I see many areas on county roads that would seem to warrant guardrails more than the ones installed along Long Lake Road.

The out basket: Christy DeGeus, traffic operations supervisor for Kitsap County, says,  “All of the locations are evaluated based on (a federal) Roadside Design Guide and (state) Design Manual standards.”

There are many factors, including amount of traffic, vehicle speeds, road alignment, what’s just beyond the shoulder, accident history and shading of the roadway.

“Guardrail should only be installed if it is clear that the result of a vehicle striking the barrier will be less severe than the crash resulting from hitting (an) unshielded object (tree, pole, critical slope, water hazard, etc.),” Christine wrote.

“Locations near or in curves are given priority over straightaways because the average crash rate for curves is about three times that of other highway segments,” she said. “Areas exiting curves can be of concern especially if they have a lot of tree shadows where ice and snow are slow to melt.”

Public Works spokesman Doug Bear added, “The Traffic Division keeps an ongoing list (of sites) generated from multiple sources. One source is citizen requests, either as a result of recent collisions or part of the outreach for the Transportation Improvement Program. Another source is our Traffic Safety Report. This report is prepared every two years and identifies locations by collision patterns that can be corrected by guardrail installation.

“Another source is county staff who observes obstacles within clear zones that would benefit from shielding. The latest round of locations was determined through a contract survey through a federal safety grant that identified high collision corridors on federal aid roads.

“Prior to each year’s construction season the sites listed on the guardrail list are evaluated and prioritized,” Doug said. “Work is completed based on that prioritization and the funds available each yea.,” Doug said.

The guardrails Dave questions are either in a curve or just coming out of one. Neither has a steep slope behind it, but the one in the curve screens two large power poles. The one coming out of a curve has a large power pole and a row of sizable trees just a few feet behind it.

I notice two other sites a short distance away with longer, steeper slopes and trees, houses at the base of the slopes and no guardrails. But neither is near a curve.

Christine goes on to say, “We still have two locations yet to install on Long Lake.  We have one location in a curve north of Salmonberry and one location near the north end of the lake that will protect from water and trees.”

They’re also evaluating locations on Gunderson, Mullenix, Seabeck-Holly, Seabeck, Gold Creek, Feigley, Bethel Burley and Central Valley roads and Hood Canal Drive, she said.

Long Lake Road depression getting more noticeable

The in basket: James Pape writes, “I drive Long Lake Road from Woods Road to Sedgwick (in South Kitsap) most days. In the southbound lane just past the big farm on the right the road way is sinking. In the last couple of months it has dropped 6 to 8 inches on the right edge of the road and extends in to the middle of the roadway.

“At 40 mph it is quite a jolt and seems to be getting worse,” he said  “Has the county any answer to why and when this might be fixed?”

The out basket: Coincidentally, I had driven that route twice the day before James wrote, and hadn’t noticed the dip. When I later went looking for it, there was a small but noticeable  jolt at that spot. For someone in vehicle with stiff suspension or on a motorcycle, I can see how it would be more disorienting.

Doug Bear of Kitsap County Public Works says they are aware of the dip. “We are monitoring it and will evaluate any action needed in the spring or summer,” he said. “There is no culvert, spring or other obvious cause for the problem. We need to excavate the site to determine the reason, and that type of work is very weather dependent. We will take action sooner than spring if conditions warrant, or if we get an extended period of favorable weather.”

Fiber optic installation made an odd scene

The in basket: My wife, the Judybaker, phoned one recent morning to report an odd site. A line of workers in neon orange vests were positioned along Mile Hill Drive in South Kitsap, each one appearing to be pulling wire out a utility box on the shoulder. The boxes, and hence the workers, were each about 50 yards apart between Bulman Road and Woods Road.

I went to check it out and it was as described. I’d never seen anything like it, so I stopped and asked if they were with Wave Cable.

The out basket: No, said Dan O’Brien, who was supervising the mostly very young crew along with Daren Miller, acting head of the Kitsap County public works signal shop. It was a county job, Dan said, to link the traffic signals on Mile Hill Drive from Long Lake Road to California Avenue with fiber optic cable.

And they weren’t pulling it out, they were putting it in, each worker pulling it from the previous utility box as they worked east toward California Avenue, curling it into a temporary loop that gave the impression the cable was coming out.

The cable will allow the electronics shop to diagnose and repair problems with the signals without having to drive to the location, Dan said. If there is no problem, drivers shouldn’t notice any change.

The utility boxes were installed when the county widened and repaved Mile Hill Drive between Long Lake Road and California Avenue several years ago and have sat empty waiting for the day when the fiber optic cable was strung, Dan said. They put in a mile and a half of the cable that day, Daren said.

Other county locations have the remote diagnosis capability already, he said. All of Silverdale does.

As I drove away, I noted the extreme youth of the chain gang,  the county’s public works summer hires.