Tag Archives: Mile Hill Drive

Shopping center’s private road a heavily used cut-through

The in basket: M.C. (Pete) Peterson sounds a familiar note in complaining about the chronic pot holes that develop seemingly each winter on Village Lane, the private road that services South Park Village shopping center in South Kitsap. The holes join a couple of speed humps that make entering the shopping center from the south in the dark of winter a challenge.

“I drove on the road,” he said in early March, “and noticed a big hole right where the last one was, and it is obvious that someone did some repair work. But some 4th grade boys could have done a better job.

“They did not use any large filler for the hole, and it is all pushed down, but not broken, but it still could do some under-carriage damage if hit too fast.

“I think that will all wash out if it fills with water and people don’t see the hole and aren’t aware of the previous damage and just keep driving through it.

“I’m sorry to have to keep harping on this, but that whole section needs some work, if you are egressing from the shopping center, there are several locations that are bad.”

Actually, one other. The access with the traffic signal where Village Lane intersects Mile Hill Drive is always in good shape, but the secondary Mile Hill Drive entrance just east of there seems to develop a big hole every winter. Even this winter, with no snow to complicate things, a large car-jolting hole appeared.

It’s not surprising the holes appear on Village Lane each winter. Though a private road designed to get shoppers into the shopping center, it is widely used as a cut-through to Mile Hill Drive by hundreds of the motoring public.

I asked who is responsible for the holes in Village Lane and the one on Mile Hill Drive. I also asked if, it’s being a private road, its owners could close it, though I’m sure that’s the last thing they would want.

The out basket: “The property owner(s) are responsible for private roads,” Doug Bear, spokesman for Kitsap County Public Works, said April 3. “Madrona Manor (Housing Kitsap) is going to fill the hole.

“The potholes along Mile Hill Drive are in county-maintained right-of-way and have been repaired,” he said.

I drove through there last week and it appears the holes next to Madrona Manor, a senior living complex at Village Lane and Madrona Drive, have been filled too.

As for whether Village Lane’s continued use is up to its owners, Doug said, “In the Short Subdivision Application (Auditor record #7706080154), when the property was subdivided, there is a provision in each of the three parcels that describes “…an easement for ingress and egress over and across a strip of land 30 feet in width lying 15 feet across each side of the following described centerline…” It goes on to describe the parcel piece it references.

“As a lay person, that would seem to indicate that access to the other parcels must be maintained, but I’m sure a legal professional could give a better opinion.”

Retsil-Mile Hill Drive signal knocked out three days

The in basket: The traffic signal at Retsil Road and the state’s portion of Mile Hill Drive (Highway 166) in Port Orchard must have taken quite a hit in Saturday’s wind storm. A wide area around the intersection was cordoned off with yellow tape Saturday morning. The signal was dark from early Saturday through Sunday and it was the site of a major repair project Monday.

A couple large state bucket trucks and other vehicles were at work, plus flaggers in all four legs of the intersection. Two of the highway’s four lanes were closed. They were still there after 3 p.m. I asked what had happened.

The out basket: Jim Newman, head of the Olympic Region signal shop for state highways, said, “Due to the wind storm a high voltage power line came down. This sent a high voltage spike through our signal equipment causing damage to our cabinet, internal components, displays and wiring. Our crews were working on replacing the damaged equipment Monday, and worked late to get the signal back in operation.”

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.

County gives up on failed SK slope fabric

The in basket: From the beginning, the green fabric mat laid on two shoulder slopes of Mile Hill Drive just west of Woods Road in South Kitsap when the county widened that road several years ago was a disappointment.

Grass grew through it sparsely, creating an unsightly vista. But years passed, the grass grew as well as it could and I forgot about it despite regularly passing the site.

The week of Oct. 7, a county crew tore out all the fabric and grass and covered the northern of the two slopes with straw.

I asked the reason, and whether the opposite slope would get the same treatment.

The in basket:  Doug Bear of Kitsap County Public Works replied, “The fabric was removed because the grass failed to thrive underneath it. We have reseeded the area and are using straw for erosion control while the grass grows through it.

“We will be doing the same eastbound, though in spots rather than the whole shoulder area.

“Runoff that drains through natural vegetation gets ‘cleansed’ by that process and having vegetation on any slope is usually better than bare dirt.

“There was no immediate concern about the hillside failing,” Doug said, “but it is a best practice to vegetate slopes along ditches whenever possible. The fall growing period helps build a strong root base for better growth in the spring.”

Fircrest Drive trench patches rankle reader

The in basket: James Seabolt writes, “Maybe you could tell me why it is that when road work and repairs are made in Kitsap County the result is like a war zone. I think that every time I take a drive down Bethel Avenue in Port Orchard I need a front end alignment .

“I just came from Fircrest Drive off Mile Hill Drive and there are three places between the Mile Hill intersection and the fire department that were just patched and they feel like speed bumps.

“If a tax payer was to have work done on his own driveway at home there is no way we would accept the type of work done by the county. I know the excuse that the dirt settles different area-to-area and that’s bull. Seattle water and city light have long ago gone to filling there repairs with slurry, a cement-type product to fill in the repair under the pavement and the repairs are smooth.

“Why is it that we will accept sub-standard work from the county when we as taxpayers would not accept the same work at our own home?”

The out basket: I count five places a temporary patch has been made on Fircrest in the area James mentions.

Staged work is fairly common in the county, and in this case it’s the West Sound Utility District, the south end’s major water and sewer provider, and not the county doing the work.

Brent Winters, operations manager for West Sound, said the rough patches were done with what’s called cold mix, and were just to keep the material in place and avoid pot holes’ forming. The district is soliciting bids for a permanent pavement repair with hot mix asphalt, which will be smooth.

He said the ditching was done to change water connections of nine homes and businesses from an old 2-inch main to a newer 8-inch main to improve the quality of the water those customer receive.

As for Bethel Avenue, it’s subject to work to turn it into a main business corridor, but funding is uncertain and it just changed hands from the county to the city of Port Orchard besides. So no one wants to spend big bucks on permanent roadway improvements until it’s certain they’ll be there for the long run.

Mile Hill Drive vs. Sedgwick Road – again

The in basket: Tom Myers Jr. asked me recently what the impetus was to widen Mile Hill Drive between Woods Road and Long Lake Road to put in a center turn lane, which was done last year even though there are hardly any places one can turn left through that stretch.
He asked me in a meeting in which he and various other Sedgwick Road property owners west of Bethel Avenue were exploring ways to get a two-way center turn lane added there, an improvement left out of state plans to make that stretch safer and extend the two-way center turn lane east of Bethel Avenue all the way to Brasch Road.
His underlying assertion was that a center turn lane was needed much more west of Bethel on Sedgwick than on that portion of Mile Hill Drive.
The out basket: As I said when Tim Ferris made a similar comparison between the two highways back in March of ’07, Mile Hill is a county road and Sedgwick a state highway and the two governments have their own priority lists as to what gets improved.
But I had to concede to Tom that I didn’t know why the stretch between Long Lake and Woods Roads was included in the Mile Hill Drive widening, which continued east from Woods past Alaska Avenue. Left turns are numerous east of Woods, but rare west of there.
Dick Dadisman of the Kitsap County public works staff replies, “The main reason is for continuity of the roadway through the length of the project area.
“Pre-project, there were left turn lanes at Bulman and Woods Roads. This project installed a traffic light on Long Lake Road and the westbound left turn lane at the Long Lake intersection.
“With turn lanes and their associated tapers at Long Lake, Bulman, and Woods, there isn’t much distance left to taper the roadway back to two lanes.” If they had, he said. “through traffic would be weaving in and out through the width of the pavement at all these intersections.”