Road Warrior

Travis Baker blogs about the problems and idiosyncrasies of Kitsap highways and byways.
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Posts Tagged ‘Long Lake’

New yellow gas line posts pop up in SK

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

The in basket: Louise Hoppe asks the purpose of a series of bright yellow plastic posts that have appeared on the shoulder of Salmonberry, Phillips and Long Lake roads in South Kitsap.

They read, vertically, “Warning. Natural Gas Pipeline” and list the main Cascade Natural Gas phone number.

Louise said she’d never seen them anywhere else, and neither have I.

The out basket: Chris Bossard, district manager for Cascade Natural Gas says they are a stepped up program to keep the company’s underground lines from being broken or damaged by digging. It started four or five weeks ago and is an effort to “increase public awareness and pipeline safety.”

The company has its lines marked in other places, but generally by horizontal signage, and mostly inside the cities. The tall, three-sided yellow poles will be showing up in areas outside the cities where a person might not suspect there is a gas line below.

They are permanent and will be replaced if damaged or run over, Chris says.

“You’ll definitely see a lot of them outside the city limits,” he said. The city serves places in pretty much every corner of the county, plus Belfair

The company still wants people to call 811 before digging, but the posts are intended to emphasize the need.

 

 


Mismatched speed limits past two county parks are questioned

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

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.”


Why so many workers on road project?

Monday, July 19th, 2010

The in basket: The over-staffed road project, commonly symbolized by someone leaning on a shovel, is so much a part of modern lore that I wasn’t surprised when my wife, The Judybaker, came home one recent day and said she’d seen it again at Mile Hill Drive and Woods Road, near our home.

When I drove past the crew twice in the next few days, I noticed that they were replacing the worn turn arrows, stop bars and crosswalk lines at Woods and Long Lake roads. Sure enough, there were six employees both times, and two or three didn’t seem to be doing anything at that moment.

They were Kitsap County crews, and I asked what the job assignments were and what required six people.

The out basket: Jeff Shea, county traffic engineer, supplies the answer:

“Our markings crew is made up of one permanent employee, and five to seven participants in our college summer help program,” he said, referring me to the online site www.kitsapgov.com/pw/summer_students.htm to learn more about it. Among the information is that there are 55 such jobs paying between $9.47 and $12.87 an hour.

“We no longer use painted markings,” Jeff continued. “All of our arrows, crosswalks, and stop lines are now applied with a durable material called thermoplastic.  Thermoplastic markings last longer than paint. The end result is less frequent maintenance. It stands up to traffic much better.

“The application process for the thermoplastic is totally different then the painting process. The process is labor-intensive and we look for ways to maximize the potential of each work crew.

“At large multi-lane intersections, we commonly use six employees and two work vehicles to replace pavement markings.  During the set-up phase, two to three employees use one vehicle to set up traffic control signs. The remaining employees use the other vehicle to ‘cone off’ traffic lanes and turn the traffic signal to an all-way stop flashing red.

“The employees remain in two groups.  One group  uses a grinder to remove the old markings. As they are doing that, the second group is marking out and installing the new thermoplastic marking.  This allows the crew to work at different legs of the intersection and limit the amount of time the intersection is ‘down.’

“We use four torches to pre-heat the asphalt and melt the thermoplastic markings on the asphalt.  It takes about 15 to 20 minutes for traffic to drive on it.

“There may be times when staff are not physically doing something.  We have a very good crew leader who orchestrates tasks to get the most from his crew.  Because these operations are so labor intensive we utilize the summer help staff. Their level of experience varies, and they are learning techniques ‘on-the-job”.’ which can limit the efficiency at times.

“There sometimes is a lag as the first group grinds and the second groups waits for that spot to be ready for application. Most intersections have several different markings that need application, and two groups seem to get the most production from the crew. That being said, we are using the information you provided to help us analyze  how we do things and see if there is a better approach to this type of work.”


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You can reach Travis Baker at tvisb@wavecable.com

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