Tag Archives: Manette

Manette chip-sealing is a work in progress

The in basket: Dustin Butler writes, “I was curious about the quality of chip seal work Bremerton had done to Terrace Street last year.  I appears to be very poor.  The aggregate is coming loose and washes on to Trenton below when it rains.

“Roads I know the county chip-seals don’t seem to have this problem.”

The Road Warrior drove to Terrace Street after Dustin wrote and found it is one of several upper Manette streets to get the treatment, in which fine rock is laid down on road oil and vehicles driving over it set the mix. Terrace did have an unusual amount of loose gravel on the surface.

I asked also if these projects were paid for by the city’s car tab fee, administered by what’s called the Transportation Benefit District

The out basket: City Public Works Director Chal Martin replied, “Yes, this chip seal work was funded with Transportation Benefit District money as a pilot program to find an inexpensive way to extend pavement life.

“The  street segments in Manette were great candidates for this, as the asphalt was very old but the subsurface was mostly still OK.

“One of the things we wanted to see was how well the chip seal held up, especially on the steeper segments. So far I have been happy with what I am seeing.

“Some of the chips are coming loose, and we did expect that because the streets are very low traffic.  It is actually a good thing to get a lot of traffic on newly chip-sealed streets, in order to seat the aggregate into the road oil/tar mix.

“On the hilly segments, some of the gravel that was probably never quite attached is ablating off.  We knew we would need to do some sweeping, and we’ll  get that scheduled up,” he said.

“In some places, it looks like quite a bit of gravel has come loose, but we put a lot of gravel down and when I brushed that aside, everywhere I looked there was still a good chip seal base below the loose gravel.

“Although the hill on 16th/Perry looked good, 18th and Perry and 17th from Pitt to Perry were much like Terrace.

“When I was at the intersection of Terrace and Trenton,” Chal said, “a pickup truck came up Trenton, turned onto Terrace and sped up the hill, pretty much spraying gravel the whole time since he was in a bit of a hurry. So my theory about needing more vehicle passes to ’embed’ the gravel into the substrate tar material doesn’t work for those cases.

“Anyway, we’ll do some sweeping and continue to monitor.  So far, so good from my perspective,” he said.

I think the extra sweeping got done already, as there was a lot less loose gravel when I paid a second visit to that area Monday.

Manette residents find intersection scary

The in basket: Josh Farley, city reporter for The Sun, e-mailed to say, “I’ve been talking with some employees and residents in Manette about the intersection of Pitt Avenue at East 11th Street. Lots of people take the right-hand turn from East 11th onto Pitt at quite the pace, prompting some to call for a yield sign or some lights to be put along the crosswalk. Also, the stop sign on Pitt Avenue at East 11th is, strangely, on a telephone pole rather than the street sign. Any chance you could check into these  issues?”

The out basket: The last time I wrote about East 11th and Pitt, it was from the perspective of drivers who wanted the flow from Harkins to East 11th made smoother. Gunnar Fridriksson, head of the city street engineers, said then the residents of the area preferred that the flow through that double-dogleg turn be kept awkward for safety.

That’s still true, he told me when I asked about hope among Manette denizens the flow in the opposite direction could be made safer.

Gunnar said there have been some close calls at that intersection, but not a lot of accidents. Drivers occasionally expect westbound drivers to turn right or stop, and start to pull out. When a westbound vehicle goes straight, as it is legally entitled to do, good fortune has so far prevented an accident

“We have received a couple of comments that we should add a stop sign at westbound East 11th at Pitt,” he said, “that there have been a few near-misses with drivers who went through instead of making the right onto Pitt.  But to date we have not really had much of an accident history here, or reason to do so as the predominant movement is the right turn.

“And we do not want to do the in-pavement lighting,” he said. “That is being shown to be a maintenance nightmare with various jurisdictions.”

I don’t know where a Yield sign would be put to improve anything. There’s nothing to yield to, except pedestrians, and a sign might confuse drivers.

How soon to stop for a pedestrian in a roundabout

The in basket: After writing recently about peril to pedestrians at the Manette Bridge roundabout in Bremerton, it occurred to me that I hadn’t addressed an issue of interest to motorists.

How soon must a driver stop for a person in a roundabout crosswalk?

The question occurred to me when I saw a pedestrian crossing the large Highway 166 roundabout at what used to be called the Hi-Joy Y in Port Orchard. I was in the lane on the other side of the “refuge island” midway that provides walkers a relatively safe place to wait for a break in traffic. He was a long way from my lane and stopping for him then would have caused a lengthy delay for me and all traffic behind me. I didn’t stop.

The law requires a driver to stop for a pedestrian who is in a crosswalk, marked or unmarked, within one lane of his own. On a two-lane street, stopping is required when the walker enters the street on either side. On a three-lane street, when the walker enters the center lane. On a street with four or more lanes, when the walker enters the lane next to yours.

But what about in a roundabout?

The out basket: There doesn’t appear to be a clear answer to this. As a practical, if not a legal, matter, the size of the roundabout could make the difference.

State Trooper Russ Winger says, “I do not have a definitive answer to this question. I personally think the driver should stop and let the pedestrian cross when they are ready to enter or already in the opposite lane. This ‘refuge island’ is nothing more than a few feet of asphalt and puts a person very near a moving vehicle if the vehicle does not stop.

“I think the roundabout in Manette is a unique example of roundabouts,” he said, “due to the fact that it – at times – has a high volume of pedestrian traffic and (vehicle) traffic at the same time. It is also a very small roundabout with a short radius and the sight distances are not great.

“I have driven in it many times and it seems trickier than most. You have to be alert to traffic and pedestrians at all times. It can be a very busy intersection and I think pedestrian safety is the more important aspect.”

But he conceded he might feel otherwise with a larger roundabout with more room for error. “Rather a gray area with just the one RCW to deal with it,” he said.

As a guide, I might rely on what Lt. Pete Fisher of Bremerton police told me last year about the rules at the Warren Avenue center barrier between Burwell and Sixth Street.. He said motorist should stop for a pedestrian there when the pedestrian is in the gap in the barrier about to enter your lane.

That gap would be comparable to the refuge island in a roundabout.

Pedestrians worry at Manette roundabout


The in basket: Josh Farley of the paper’s reporting staff told me in March about a Facebook string discussing perils facing pedestrians at the roundabout at the east end of the Manette Bridge. Manette resident Robin Henderson then tracked it down for me.

Joy Gjersvold kicked it off saying, “Good morning, Manette friends! Question for you all: Have you noticed as you enter and exit the traffic circle by the bridge the number of near misses of pedestrians? In the past three weeks I have noticed four incidents where pedestrians were nearly hit even after they waited for a safe moment to cross — using the crosswalk. In all four cases, the vehicles had to come to a screeching halt in order to keep from hitting someone. One of the vehicles was an oil truck. Yikes!

“Is there anything we can do to help make that area a bit safer for the folks out walking, jogging, and biking? My husband and I wish they’d put in the yellow flashing lights when someone is in the crosswalk.”

Catherine Tomko added, “I have noticed it worse coming from West Bremerton side into the circle, those drivers constantly never look, they race to get into the circle, thinking they have the right of way. Then the other one is those coming down from Wheaton Way into the circle, rushing into the circle ahead of any car coming.  I see the drivers in front of me and around me rush into that circle with no regard to the pedestrians. It honestly does make me nervous to walk anywhere around that circle.”

The lively Facebook discussion went on for much of that morning, with several others joining in, adding suggestions of the orange hand-held flags like Port Orchard has available at all its unsignalized crosswalks downtown.

The out basket: The state Transportation Department’s Web site has a lot about driving and walking in roundabouts. It says roundabouts are “designed to be safer for pedestrians than traditional intersections.”

The crosswalks are set farther back from vehicle conflict points and have an island in their center so those on foot can stop half-way across and need watch only one direction of traffic at a time, it says. Speeds often are lower in a roundabout too.

Still, roundabouts demand greater driver attention to meshing with other moving vehicles, so it’s easy to overlook a waiting or walking pedestrian.

I think the Manette one still is haunted my the pre-roundabout decades in which drivers coming off the bridge had the right of way in turning left. Even drivers who know that any traffic entering a roundabout must yield to traffic already in it might think incorrectly that the rules are somehow different at Manette.

Josh Farley and some who joined in the March morning Facenook exchange wondered if there is something that could be done to make the roundabout safer for pedestrians.

The state deferred to the city on that question and Gunnar Fridriksson, Bremerton’s managing engineer for streets, said “The city is reviewing signing associated with the Manette traffic circle and will be making changes with the Lower Wheaton Way project.  Our current focus is on bicyclists’ safety, but we will be reviewing for pedestrians as well.  To date, complaints received for the traffic circle have been bicycle-oriented, I am not familiar with any formal complaints from pedestrians.”

The Lower Wheaton Way project will widen sidewalks and make other improvements from the bridge to Lebo Boulevard.

It’s worth noting that the Port Orchard roundabout doesn’t have the orange flags most of the other unsignalized crosswalks in town do. Public works Director Mark Dorsey says that’s “because the issue and/or request has never come up. “

Left turn signal at Manette Bridge is oddly positioned

The in basket: Jim Wieck and Katherine Adams both say the left turn signal for those heading south on 11th Street at the Manette Bridge in Bremerton is easy to miss.

Jim says, “As you approach from the north, the two traffic lights for the inside and outside Washington Avenue lanes appear to be located too far to the left side of the lanes.

“The inside lane traffic light appears to line up with the turn lane. Although there is a turn light directly above the turn lane, I have seen drivers not recognize that light but use the inside Washington Avenue light to determine when they can proceed, which can result in running the red turn light.

“I’ve probably done it,” he said. “While riding with my wife she did it and I have observed a car in front of me do the same.

“If this illusion is not corrected, I can imagine future accidents caused by drivers responding to the wrong traffic light.”

Katherine writes, “The left turn light is sometimes not seen and the drivers follow the light for the through lane. Maybe it isn’t located correctly?

“This happened to us once so we are very careful and I have seen it happen numerous times and it is scary if you are driving through on Washington going north and a car turns in front of you.

The out basket: In my few times through there, I haven’t reacted to the wrong signal head, but apparently a lot of people do.

I see a possible explanation in that the left turn signal isn’t mounted on the same crossarm as the two through signals. Instead, it’s mounted on the back of the crossarm for the signals controlling oncoming traffic. I haven’t been able to get an explanation for the unusual design.

That signal was designed by the state, but it’s operation is controlled by the city. Street Engineer Gunnar Fridriksson says they changed that left turn signal to go green at the same time as the two through signal heads, rather than following them as was the case when they first went into service. They did it because a number of vehicles were running the red while turning left, he said.

That will eliminate the problem described by Jim and Katherine except when the left turn signal “times out” for lack of traffic and goes red while the through lights stay green.

“It sounds like we still have a little issue,” Gunnar said. “We have discussed adding a secondary display for the turn on the signal pole itself, but have simply not had the time/resources to do so yet.”

Two Washington Avenue concerns in Bremerton

The in basket: Willadean Howell has a couple of suggestions for making Washington Avenue in Bremerton more driver friendly.

She finds the left turn for those coming off the new Manette Bridge to be uncomfortably tight due to the center barrier that divides the two directions of travel on Washington. If the end of the barrier at the bridge access were cut back a short distance, the turn would a lot easier, she said.

She also echoed a suggestion I got year or so ago about making the southbound outside lane of Washington at Sixth Street a right-turn-only lane. Most drivers make that turn and the inside lane is sufficient to handle those wanting to go straight ahead, she argued. As it is now, drivers who otherwise could make a right on red and be on their way are trapped behind any driver who wants to go straight and must wait for a green light.

When another reader made the same  right-turn-only suggestion, city engineers of the time said they wouldn’t what to make such a change piece-meal but would consider it as part of a larger review of downtown traffic flows.

The out basket: Gunnar Fridriksson, the city street engineer who answers my questions these days, says he agrees with his predecessors about the right turn.

“(There are a) couple of issues here,” he said, “one of which

would be reconfiguring the existing signal and its cabinet – and the costs associated therewith.”

“Further, extending Washington’s widened sidewalk, currently south of Fifth Street, up

to Sixth Street may be affected by such a change and must be considered.”

“I do believe this is an excellent issue to be addressed with a downtown circulation study,” Gunnar added. “I will put a note into the file with your e-mail for when we do pick that back up.”

As for the barrier intruding on left turns, there are no plans to chop it back, he said. The state tested the turn with a Kitsap Transit bus and a tractor-trailer and “were able to have both of them make the movement,” he said.

Of course, state officials said they used a bus in designing the new east-end Manette roundabout and they wound up enlarging it after buses actually started using it.

Short block of Pitt may impede new Manette bridge’s traffic

The in basket: Ralph Gribbin and Gary Blankenship are hoping the new traffic pattern in Manette with the opening of its new bridge will be smoothed with some changes on the short block of Pitt Avenue between Harkins and East 11th Street.

“What are the city’s plans for the streets leading to the bridge?” Gary asked. “At the very least, shouldn’t parking along (that part of Pitt) be stopped? Better, shouldn’t it be widened?”

Ralph would go further. “Ever since the old bridge was closed, Manette traffic has had to go straight through on Harkins to Pitt, stop, turn right on Pitt for one short block and stop at 11th Street before turning left onto it,” he wrote.

“Leaving those two stop signs where they are stops the smooth flow of traffic from the bridge to 11th and up to Perry and Trenton avenues.

“Removing those two stop signs, placing a Yield sign on westbound 11th just before Pitt, and a stop sign on eastbound 11th just before Pitt  would make this the thoroughfare that should exist in that area.

“The same basic layout has existed at Trenton Avenue and 11th for years without any problem,” he said.

The out basket: I drove around there and it does have all the earmarks of a bottleneck, with little room for anything very large to make the turn if there is oncoming traffic.

The city of Bremerton is taking a wait-and-see approach to this, says Gunnar Fridriksson of the city engineers office, to see what drivers do naturally.

“The city had numerous conversations with (the state) about the after-configuration of the streets in Manette,” he said. “… What was decided was to wait a bit after the new bridge was open to see how traffic reacted with the new configuration. Often it just takes a couple of weeks for issues to iron themselves out and drivers to adjust to the new situation, and we did not want to spend unnecessary effort for signage and the like.”

There will be some changes made in that area, probably next year, but they’re not intended to help the flow to and from the bridge.

“The project is a Low Impact Development street project,” Gunnar said, “similar to what occurred on Pacific Avenue with pervious paving, rain gardens, etc…

“We will be going from the west end of (East) 11th Street, east as far as the money will allow us. We originally were trying to make it to Perry Avenue, but with the funding received, are trying to at least make it to Scott, but it may just be to Pitt.

“It should be a good complement to the redone Whitey Domstad viewscape,” he said.




Is new Manette Bridge roundabout too small for big trucks?

The in basket: I heard second hand at the dentist’s office Thursday that one of Kitsap Transit’s worker/driver buses had had a hard time getting around the new roundabout being opened at the end of the Manette Bridge in Bremerton. The driver had to back up to maneuver his way around it, the report said.

It might have resulted from the driver’s unfamiliarity with the just-opened roundabout, I remarked.

It reminded me that Gary Reed had e-mailed on Oct. 6 to ask, “Is the roundabout on the Manette-side sized to allow buses, semi trucks, and fire trucks to safely negotiate it, or will there be a vehicle length restriction?

“It looks pretty small,” he said.

The out basket: Jeff Cook, project engineer for the bridge project said at the time, “There are no length restrictions being imposed on the bridge.  The design vehicle for this particular roundabout was the longest bus in the Kitsap Transit fleet.

“Keep in mind there are two components of a roundabout when it comes to traversable areas.  The first is the asphalt itself.  The second is the truck apron.  The truck apron is the concrete circle between the asphalt and the roundabout stubwall.  By definition it is “a raised section…around the central island that acts as an extra lane for large vehicles.

“The back wheels of the oversize vehicle can ride up on the truck apron so the truck can easily complete the turn, while the raised portion of concrete discourages use by smaller vehicles.”

John Clauson of Kitsap Transit confirmed that a worker-driver bus had run into trouble getting around the circle. State officials called them Thursday,” John said,  “asking us to bring out a bus so they could see just where the problem was. Our experience during that exercise was the same as the Worker/Driver.” I’m not sure where this will lead.


The nuts and bolts of removing old bridge’s nuts, bolts and concrete

The in basket: As I crossed the Warren Avenue Bridge in Bremerton one recent day and looked over at the old Manette Bridge, fated for demolition this fall and winter, my thoughts flashed to the fact that most of the fallen portions of Galloping Gertie, the original, short-lived Tacoma Narrows Bridge, are said to remain where they fell, at the bottom of the narrows.

I wondered if any part of the Manette Bridge would wind up on the bottom of its narrows.

The out basket: It was a timely curiosity, as state engineers were grappling at that very moment with ways to make sure the answer is no, the old Manette Bridge will be removed in its entirety.

They turned out a news release soon afterward, detailing how the underwater portions of the old bridge will be removed under a separate contract. Their original plans for the removal were judged too likely to make the crumbled concrete unretrievable. There was a story about it in the Sept. 17 Sun.

Project Engineer Jeff Cook has provided me with further details.

The majority of the removal will be done under the construction contract with Manson-Mowat.

The road surface already has been removed.  This fall, the steel parts of the bridge will be lifted in chunks of up to 250 tons, put on a barge and cut up for transport off-site. The steel center truss, the visual identity of the old bridge, will be the last steel part removed.

Then crews will use what’s called a hoe ram, described as a huge jackhammer, to “rubblize” the above-water parts of the concrete uprights that support the bridge.

The chunks will fall onto a platform of planks laid between two barges to be positioned on each side of the pier being destroyed, Jeff said. The barges and planks will be covered in sand to keep the falling detritus from bouncing into the water.

When the platforms hold as much as they can, the barges will be moved to Tacoma to be unloaded, Jeff said. It may take more than one trip.

“Nothing is allowed to drop into the water,” he said. “The contractor will be required to fully contain all pieces that are picked and removed during demolition.”

The below-water parts of the bridge will fall to the bottom, but will be contained within steel coffer cells that will limit the area from which the rubble must be removed, Jeff said.

No one will ever accuse me of being an environmentalist, so I’m anxious to hear from those who consider themselves to be whether this doesn’t all seem a bit much. Particularly, the importance of keeping out of the water crumbled parts of concrete structures that have sat intact in that same water for 80-some years seems like costly overkill.

How about clearing outside lane at Manette Bridge?

The in basket: Gary Reed writes, “The people building the Manette Bridge have been leaving their large sign and traffic cones on Washington Avenue, long after the work is done for the day. This blocks the outside lane that is used to turn onto the bridge all the way to the bridge entrance, forcing everyone to wait for a green light for the inside lane to continue straight or turn right onto the bridge.

“Is it just too inconvenient for them to place and remove the sign each day?  It is pretty inconvenient to the motorists when traffic backs up for blocks,” Gary said.

The out basket: Project Engineer Jeff Cook says it comes down to weighing cost savings versus traffic disruption.

“Starting last week, and for the next few months,” he said, “the bridge work is occurring under both daytime and nighttime operations.  Both day and night work require the closure of the turn lane.

“There is a small window of a few hours between the two shifts when the arrow board, signs, and channelization devices have been left in place,” he said. “As there is a cost associated with each set up and take down, we have been monitoring the extent of traffic backups in an effort to balance convenience of travel with cost to the project.

“Since it takes approximately 30 minutes to fully remove the setup and take it to a staging yard, then another 30 minutes to re-establish the setup, it is something we are continually assessing.

“This week we will be pulling off the closure at the end of day shift and setting it back up for the night work and monitoring the difference,”  Jeff said.