Tag Archives: McWilliams

Reader has blitz of CK road work questions

The in basket: Wally Carlson has some questions about recent county road work in Central Kitsap.

He wonders why the county didn’t shave the crest of the hill at McWilliams and Old Military roads when it added a left turn lane there. He compared the intersection to “an infinity pool” where he can’t see oncoming traffic.

He asks why the two eastbound lanes of Bucklin Hill Road weren’t continued all the way up to Tractyton Road while the bridge over Clear Creek was being replaced and the road was widened only to Mickelberry Road.

And “while complaining,” he added. “…why use poles and not bury overhead power lines on Bucklin … think that was answered before but i forgot.. money??? not very aesthetic.. only lines in sight,” he said.

The out basket: Tina Nelson, the county’s senior program manager handled all three matters.

“Projects are established based on some kind of need that justifies spending public roadway dollars,” she said. “A big deal for the county is safety, and therefore a safety need is a key reason/need for projects/improvements to take place.

“Locations with high accidents are carefully reviewed and evaluated.  A location may have more than one need; safety (accidents), poor pavement, lack of pedestrian facilities, ADA compliance, capacity, drainage, to mention some.

“We like to, and try to take care of all needs when we do a project, but the dollars only go so far. Significant grade revisions (shaving of the crest) may have large impacts to utilities buried in the roadway and adjacent properties, which are considered in the project scope/solution, bringing up our cost and the costs for others.  Therefore, we may decide to only take care of the most urgent need.

Her answer to question two echoes the one she provided in a July Road Warrior  column when Jonathan McLean asked about the gap left in the sidewalk along the same stretch of Bucklin Hill Road that Wally asks about.

“The limits for the recent Bucklin Hill project were established from Blaine Avenue to the Mickelberry intersection, the highest need,” she said. “Extending the project to Tracyton/Myhre was in the initial plan in 1998, and does make sense, but again dollars only go so far, and we had to end somewhere.

“Plus a minor capacity improvement were made a few years ago at the Bucklin/Myhre/Tracyton intersection, which is what we consider a good example of doing something to help a need, but not get it all done.

“In the current Bucklin Hill project, a transition had to be made from the five-lane section, which is the widening portion extending east of Mickelberry.

Silverdale Water District choose to replace their water main past the county’s project limits. Thereby some work was added, but to stay within budget, and grant approvals, we had to limit the work done.  We ended up with some new pavement and adding extruded curb to manage some drainage issues, but we had to leave the rest alone.

“The biggest need for traffic flow was to get the section completed to Mickelberry.  The added lanes and sidewalk connection on the south side will happen someday, but are not currently in our 6-year plan.

“The new tall poles on the south side of Bucklin Hill are to support transmission lines. Undergrounding of transmission lines is not an option.

“There are no other overhead utilities within the new roadway segment.  Undergrounding of utilities is an expense for the utility owner (Wave, KPUD, Comcast, etc.)  and not necessarily one that the county can demand,” she said.

Why not a three-way stop on McWilliams & Old Military?

The in basket: Jowdy Randall thinks a Kitsap County project is a waste of money.

“I have noticed the survey markings of turn lanes being installed at the intersection of Old Military and McWilliams roads,” Jowdy said. “This (will) entail the buying of private property, and extensive construction.

“A much simpler and less costly answer would be to install two more stop signs to go with the one already (there). This (would) make the whole intersection much safer. The turn lanes and purchase of land seem like such a waste of taxpayers’ money.

The out basket: Dick Dadisman , the county’s project manager, says, “The McWilliams Road / Old Military Road  intersection improvement project is a safety improvement scheduled for construction this spring/summer.  The project constructs intersection and channelization improvements designed to alleviate congestion, improve operational efficiency and improve safety for the traveling public.

“A detailed traffic study was prepared by the Kitsap County Traffic Division prior to commencing design.  This study evaluated various improvement alternatives, including the addition of stop signs.

“(It) reviewed the current traffic conditions, roadway operational characteristics and collision history, concluding with the best solution for improved safety being to construct a left-turn lane on eastbound McWilliams Road at the intersection.  In addition, this project also widens the roadway to increase bicycle safety and construct sidewalks with handicap ramps for improved pedestrian safety.”

Making it a multi-way stop-controlled intersection would decrease the efficiencies of this intersection, he said. “The two roads are vastly different with the number of daily vehicle trips on NE McWilliams Road (an arterial) over twice as large as the trips on Old Military Road NE (a collector).  Arterial roads are designed to move traffic, and making this a multi-way stop controlled intersection will vastly decrease the level of service on NE McWilliams Road.”


Old Military Road speeders trouble resident

The in basket: Craig Reynolds says speeding is particularly bad on Old Military Road between McWilliams and Fairgrounds roads in Central Kitsap, especially at rush hour.

Both directions are bad between 3:30 and 6 p.m., he said. He presumes it to be commuter traffic not wanting to use Highway 303 for whatever reason.

Many are motorcycles and kids with loud exhausts, he said. He thinks residents of the housing on Pine Road regard it as an option to 303 when heading toward Silverdale.

They get up to 45 to 60 mph in the 35 mph zone, he said.

He wonders how the neighbors might score one of the “Your Speed Is…” signs, such as the one in the dip on McWilliams Road just east of where Old Military intersects it. That sign really seems to slow drivers down, he said.

Frankly, that sign annoys me, as it flashes “slow down” if you’re even a mile over the 25 mile-per-hour speed limit, which is hard to avoid on the downgrade leading to it. I prefer the one Port Orchard has on Mile Hill that blinks your speed if you’re over the limit, and flashes red-blue, simulating a police car, if you’re more than 5 over.

The out basket: Jeff Shea, Kitsap County’s traffic engineer says, “Residents can request speed radar signs from Public Works by calling Kitsap1 (360.337.5777).

“Our traffic investigator completes a thorough study to determine if the sign is warranted. The study includes looking at the number of vehicles that are routinely exceeding posted speed limits.

Jeff said, “The radar signs are reserved for higher functional road classifications that do not qualify for speed bumps or other traffic calming devices,” which describes Old Military Road, I’m sure.

Roundabout at Central Valley & McWilliams not rated highly

The in basket: Several weeks ago, Laura Turner e-mailed to say the the area around Central Valley Road, McWilliams Road, 64th Street and Holland Road is a dangerous zoo, especially around school quitting time and the afternoon rush hour.  She said Olympic High School students use Holland and 64th as a short cut to McWilliams.

Central Valley and McWilliams had been identified in a Kitsap Sun article a year ago as the 12th most accident prone county intersections.

“We need speed humps on Holland and a crosswalk at the minimum at Central Valley and McWilliams,” Laura said. “There are accidents at this intersection several times a year, yet the country refuses to do anything to help the local residents.  Why is this? ”

I spent some time a couple of afternoons watching this intersection during the last weeks of the school year and had to tell Laura that it seemed unexceptional. Traffic was not very heavy, especially coming out 64th onto Central Valley. One school bus let off one child some distance up McWilliams. I saw one pedestrian, on a skateboard.

But since it was listed as among the county’s most accident prone, I asked county Public Works if there are any plans to make it safer. There’s no mention of it on the county’s six-year-road plan, called the Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP).

The out basket: County Traffic Engineer Jeff Shea says, “Last year we proposed a project to construct a roundabout there.  It did not compete well against other projects and did not make it to the TIP.

“The collision numbers at this intersection are trending down,” he said, “and indications are that it will fall well below the top ten collision intersections.  In 2012 there were no reported collisions at the intersection.”


Flashing stop signs come at a high price

The in basket: Sharell Lee read the Road Warrior column about drivers not realizing McWilliams Road in Central Kitsap ends at East Boulevard and crashing into what’s across the T intersection, and she had a suggestion.

“In California they sometimes use stop signs

mounted with a small solar panel,” she said. “The stop sign itself has bright flashing lights around the circumference.  Such stop signs are very noticeable and attention getting.

“I’m wondering if this type of sign is ever used in Washington,” she said. “I realize our climate is less sunny, but small solar panels don’t really require that much sun. Where I work, we run a small electric car with them, which I’m sure requires a lot more power than lights on a sign would.’

The out basket: I’m told there is such a stop sign inside the industrial area at Bangor’s sub base, and Sharell says the one she saw also was on a military base. She wondered if vandalism discourages there use outside a secure area.

Jeff Shea, Kitsap County traffic engineer says, “Yes. The cost of one stop sign with blinking lights and solar panel is $1,700.  A regular stop sign is $80.

“There are over 3,000 stop signs in Kitsap County. Replacing all the stop signs in the county with this type of device would cost more than $5,000,000.

“The challenge,” Jeff said, “is determining which intersections warrant this type of upgrade, so that deploying this device is consistent throughout the county. The Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices does not currently contain a warrant that sets that level.

“We would consider this as another tool in our toolbox for a solution to a problem location.  A tool like this would be used where a documented number of motorists are simply not seeing the sign, and less costly countermeasures have not worked.

“There are other factors considered when installing new signs. Each year we replace about 2,000 signs that are damaged through accidents and vandalism. The more unique the sign, the more likely vandalism occurs. You see this with street name signs that are popular.

“Adding an electric feature to a device requires additional maintenance and inspection to ensure solar panel and batteries operate correctly.

“We also have to consider how this type of application impacts neighbors. After installing flashing devices, we do get complaints from nearby neighbors that the constant flashing is a nuisance,” Jeff said..


End of McWilliams Road plagued by crashes

The in basket: Pete Waite. who lives at the east end of McWilliams Road in Central Kitsap, a T-intersection, told me in March that there has been a series of accidents involving drivers unaware the road is ending and crashing into his property and his neighbor’s.

It’s mostly teen-age drivers, he said, including a recent one in which the driver tried to pass someone slowing to stop and hit a tree across the intersection. Pete’s fence and garage door were damaged in another one.

Since we talked, there has been yet another one, in which a girl passenger was hurt and the driver was tracked down by a police dog after he ran, Pete said.

The county installed a larger stop sign after that one, he said. There also is a yellow arrow sign pointing left and right, and has ben for years. But he’d like to see the kind of flashing light one sees where Newberry Hill Road comes to the same kind of a T at Seabeck Highway.

The out basket: Jeff Shea, Kitsap County’s traffic engineer, says, “We have talked to (Pete’s) neighbor who voiced similar concerns. We upsized the stop sign and the warning sign. We also plan to add reflective tape to the sign post to (make) it a little more conspicuous.

“We looked at the lighting, but the existing luminaire lights the intersection well.

“We talked to the Sheriff’s Department about the collisions,” he continued. “They didn’t have a clear idea as to what might be causing the motorists to miss the stop.  They did offer that one was under the influence and a couple others were driving with suspended licenses.

“Overhead flashing beacons are considered a last resort without making major modifications to the intersection. This type of control device (flashing overhead beacons) often are considered a nuisance by neighbors because they flash all day and all night, every day.

“We are monitoring the existing improvements and will consider other options if collisions continue to occur,” Jeff said.


Hoofing it on McWilliams Road

The in basket: I came across a five-year-old e-mail from Scott Frisbie, who said in 2008, “McWilliams Road by Rolling Hills could really use either a walkway or bike lane.

“It seems there is always a lot of pedestrian traffic walking at the edge of or on the roadway itself as the shoulders are extremely narrow.

“I don’t imagine it’s a priority, since the sides of the road would require a fair amount of excavating to be able to widen the roadway itself,” Scott said.

The out basket: Five years haven’t changed anything for the better in this regard, though I see more pedestrians walking on the north side of McWilliams on the eastbound upgrade from Highway 303 to the residential spurs  at the top than in front of the golf course.

Doug Bear of Kitsap County Public Works, replied, “I forwarded your note to Jim Rogers, who is putting together the Transportation Improvement Program for presentation to the (county commissioners later this year. He added your reader’s comments to the project file.” The program prioritizes road projects over the next six years.

“This is a good time to remind your readers that we always welcome suggestions for capital improvement projects,” Doug added. “They can submit ideas and learn more about the process at http://www.kitsapgov.com/pw/sixyear_tip.htm.”

In my experience, it’s rare for the county to take on a sidewalk project that isn’t part of a larger job, or required of a private developer as mitigation for adding traffic. On the other hand, bike and pedestrian lanes are very much in vogue these days, especially when seeking federal money.

She said, he said at McWilliams Road ditching site

The in basket: A couple of days after I was channeled past the  the recent McWilliams Road ditching project for CenturyLink, just east of Highway 303, a woman reader had the same experience. It wasn’t much of a problem for either of us. But after her second time through, she told a different story in a phone call to the Sun’s newsroom.


As editor David Nelson related the conversation to me, she turned onto McWilliams on December 9 and said the flagger had completely shut down the road with no detour signs or warning. Her complaint was that the guy was a jerk when she pulled into a driveway to get pointed the other way, and that any Walgreen’s customer was unable to turn into the store’s parking lot. And that anyone headed to Illahee had a six-mile detour with no warning. David said the question in his mind is what notice is required when you close a road like that. “I’m assuming that notice or detour signs are required in any roadwork contract,” he said, ” but what happens when a company doesn’t fulfill the requirement?”


I asked the county if full closure of McWilliams was permissible under whatever permit the county had issued for the work. It is listed on the county’s weekly road work report, which anyone can see online at www.kitsapgov.com/pw/roadwork.htm, but there is no mention of a total closure.


The out basket: Dale Blackwood, lead right-of-way inspector for Kitsap County Public Works, said, “I checked with the contractor regarding your reader’s concern. They did recall the incident with the woman, who was frustrated with the delay and vocalized her frustration to the contractor.

“Contrary to her report, the road was never completely closed,” Dale said. “The entrance to the Walgreen’s was closed during the work and that seemed to frustrate your reader, but the other entrance to Walgreen’s (off Highway 303) was open.

“Because of the high volume of traffic there, and the proximity to the very busy intersection of McWilliams and Highway 303, there were significant delays for motorists passing through the work area.


“Under the permit issued for this type of work, temporary closures of a roadway are permissible,” he said. “If the closure exceeds 12 hours, it must be approved and authorized by the Board of County Commissioners. Cannon Construction, (which is doing the work for CenturyLink, “has always proved reliable in observing permit restrictions in the work they’ve done along county-maintained rights-of-way,” Dale said.

High speed turns at CK intersection causing wrecks

The in basket: Sharon Anderson wrote on Dec. 3 to say, “It happened again the night of Nov 28 at the intersection of Central Valley and McWilliams (roads) . Someone whipped around the turn from Central Valley onto McWilliams, flew over the sidewalk, and crashed through someone’s fence and landed in their back yard.

“This is the third time that I know of,” she said. “A while back another vehicle wound up in someone’s back yard on Central Valley at the same intersection.  There have been other accidents at this intersection, as well.

“McWilliams is a virtual speed way on many nights,” Sharon said. “Someday, someone will be standing or walking on that same sidewalk or be in their backyard when another vehicle crashes through and possibly injures or kills that person.

“This intersection needs a flashing red light to get people on Central Valley to stop before turning onto McWilliams or some other solution to keep vehicles from turning at such a high speed that they lose control. It is only a matter of time before the next accident.”

The out basket: Jeff Shea, Kitsap County’s traffic engineer, says some signing improvements are the most likely upgrade to happen there soon.

“The number of collisions at the intersection of Central Valley and McWilliams ranks the intersection 16th in the county,” he said. “While that does not make this intersection the highest priority, it does provide a cue to evaluate the intersection for possible improvements in the future. There was an average of three collisions per year during the past seven years.

“This number represents an expected occurrence of collisions compared to similar intersections on a national scale. Based on the traffic volumes through the McWilliams and Central Valley intersection – about 10,000 vehicles a day – that works out to a little less than one collision per 1,000,000 vehicles that enter the intersection.

“The significance of that number is that we can compare it to national standards. So our rate is 0.914 and the national rate for comparison is 0.990. We are in the right range when compared to the national rate.  We have or will be installing some signage improvements at or near the intersection.

“In regards to your reader’s request for a flashing red light four-way stop, we use the (federal) Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. (Its) criteria are very specific as it relates to four-way stops. The primary (reason) for installing a four-way stop is reducing traffic delays.

“In most four-way-stop scenarios, one or two legs of the intersection have to wait an unreasonable amount of time before making their turning movement.

“At this intersection, the major movements do not conflict with each other and delays there are minimal.  Installing a four-way stop (would)require about 6,000 vehicles a day to stop there. Stopping that many cars increases fuel usage, and contributes to air and noise pollution. It also adds to, rather than alleviates, delays to motorists.

‘Jungle’ said to be claiming barrier on 303

The in basket: Perry East e-mailed to say he’d “noticed that the large divider on Highway 303 (near McWilliams and Fairgrounds roads) is looking like the jungle is taking over – moss, grass and trees growing up and against. Has the state any plans for clean up of this?”

Perry’s inquiry came just a week after Paul Zellinsky of Bremerton asked me the same thing.

Paul was for 14 years a state representative here, and he said he contacted old friend Mary Margaret Haugen, now head of the Senate Transportation Committee, asking her to intercede to see that it is cleaned up.

The out basket: Duke Stryker, head of the state’s highway maintenance operation here, said he hasn’t had any expressions of interest in that barrier from Olympia or regional headquarters. But he had his maintenance supervisor visit the site after I asked and he agrees the barrier needs attention.

They’ll be getting to it as soon as they are done with pavement repair that requires a grinder, such as that on Wheaton Way, in Gorst and in Purdy, discussed in a recent Road Warrior column.

They have to share the grinder, which they rent from the city of Bremerton, he said, and it will be going to Clallam County when they are done here. So his crews are working nights and have a limited time (through June) to complete this summer’s dig out and replacement pavement repair. Later, they’ll do less intensive grader resurfacing.

I asked him if the demands of the awful winter of 2008-09 might have required cutbacks in aesthetic operations like cleanup of the center barriers on state highways the following summer. He said that’s a balancing act they do all the time, but he couldn’t say there was any necessary relationship between that winter and the barrier on 303.

Certainly safety work like renewing highway striping every years and preservation work like the pavement repair take precedence over cleanup jobs, he said.

I noticed there was some impressive vegetation along the jersey barrier farther north on 303, suggesting it was missed last year too.