Tag Archives: Manette bridge

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.”

 

About those narrower lanes on new Manette bridge

The in basket: Several comments on the Road Warrior blog at kitsapsun.com expressed amazement and/or alarm after a

Sept. 16 column said the driving lanes on the new Manette Bridge in Bremerton will be a foot narrower than those on the old bridge.

Others felt the new span’s five-foot shoulders where now there are none, make it no problem.

I asked Jeff Cook, the state’s project engineer on the job, for the rationale behind narrowing the vehicle lanes.

The out basket: “The various components of the bridge were sized to fit in with the

city’s revitalization plans now and in the future,” Jeff said. “Manette, like most

bridges, serves as a medium to tie together the pedestrian and vehicular

routes as well as the communities on either side of the Narrows.

“I think an important perspective to keep in mind is that the current 12-foot

lanes (with no shoulders) constrict to approximately 10-foot lanes (with no

shoulders) at the main truss span.  (Ever have to stop in the middle of

the bridge because a bus was coming through the truss from the other

direction?) The new structure provides 11-foot lanes with 5-foot’ shoulders.  The change to vehicles is a significant increase in lateral space.

The bridge provides 12′ feet of sidewalk where users are currently allowed

the 4-foot space.”

The bridge also has fewer piers to affect maritime activities, he said..

“So, the new bridge improves the accessibility and available space for

vehicles and pedestrians and bicyclists and boats,” he concluded

Stop signs a problem for revised Manette traffic flow, says reader

The in basket: Robin Henderson, a Manette resident, suggests some modifications to traffic flow in Manette to allow traffic to get through faster once the new Manette Bridge is finished and a roundabout is built on that end in place of the existing intersection.

“A lot of traffic across the bridge heads east up 11th to either Trenton or Perry,” he said. “Many folks headed to Brownsville or even Keyport use this route to avoid traffic.

With Shore Drive closed, “folks will  have to go up Harkins to Pitt then down Pitt to 11th with two stop signs to negotiate.  I suggested removing those two stop signs so that traffic can continue to flow uninterrupted to Trenton,” he said.

Shore Drive, which already is blocked, will remain closed to traffic coming off bridge because it is too steep to be served by the roundabout, eliminating the route taken previously by most traffic wanting to head out East 11th.

The existing stop signs would be repositioned to stop traffic on southbound Pitt and eastbound East 11th under his plan.

“I have already shared my ideas with (City Councilman) Adam Brockus, and I sent a link to this article to Jeff Cook, the states project engineer.  I was just wondering if you had any thoughts on the issue?  Do you ever drive through Manette?””

The out basket: I used to take this route weekly to reach a pickleball game in Illahee, until I decided it was just as fast and involved a lot less stopping and starting to go up around Dyes Inlet via Silverdale and double back.

Jeff Cook tells me he met Sept. 29 with Bremerton street officials and said they agreed to give Robin’s idea consideration. Having traffic proceeding through 90-degree turns without stopping raises some safety issues, and that could lead to thoughts of widening the turn radii, which might lead to right of way issues.

It’s one of two things bridge planners are being urged to change from current plans, he said. The other involves the designated detour through Manette to link East 11th and and Wheaton Way during next year’s four month closure of the existing bridge to complete the new one and the roundabout.

They are weighing objections to the designated detour, via Pitt and 14th Street, which some residents oppose, against an alternative, using Perry Avenue and 18th Street, which some Manette businesses fear will cost them most of their customers, he said.

In each case, “we want the most amount of people to be happy with what we do,” Jeff said.