Tag Archives: pavement

H2O stigmata on Highway 166?

The in basket: Michael Shearing of Port Orchard, in an e-mail he titled “Stigmata on Route 166?,” says, “I am curious about the mysterious perpetually weeping roadway in two places on Highway 166. One is about a mile east of Gorst in front of Tony Otto’s law office and the other is about 200 yards west of that in front of what appears to be an equipment storage lot.

“It seems like they first appeared two or three years ago and have been there every day since,” he said. “Water (I assume it’s water) is continually seeping from beneath the roadway/asphalt. No matter how hot in the middle of summer or how cold in the middle of winter (and yes, they do freeze over) these areas are always wet.

“Is this from some kind of underground spring or high water table? If it was from a broken pipe I assume it would have been fixed by now. Any idea what this is and if there are any plans to  ‘cure’ it?

The out basket: I don’t have any definitive answers for Michael, who is spot-on about the persistence of the leaking. It was there every day during our recent near-historic dry spell, never seeming to flow any faster or slower. I have to take his word about when it began.

The state highway people haven’t replied to my inquiries about this. It’s no surprise that an area at the bottom of a large hill would weep water from above, but just what it is about these two spots that provide less resistance to the water than the rest of the highway, I can’t say.

The one in front of the Otto law office looks like oil, but it’s just water. It must have a chemical component as it discolors the asphalt.

That’s not true of the other leak Michael mentioned, in the driveway of the Thompson’s Pile Driving equipment yard, or two other leaks onto Highway 166 in Port Orchard, both downhill from the roundabout in front of the Hi-Joy Bowl.

Paul Fritts, owner of Thompson’s Pile Driving next to the law office, said he got a call from a state highway official a while back asking if he had a water line leak, but he said, no, they don’t even have a water line through there. And the natural water pressure is great enough that some wells in that area don’t even need pumps, he said. He didn’t recall the name of who called.

You may have noticed mention in the Sunday Sun a while back in a caption under one of the historic pictures that run each week on the cover of the fourth section, of a one-time artesian well in downtown Port Orchard that ran constantly for years. It, too, was powered by uphill water pressure but was corralled into a pipe at the former site of Peninsula Feed, across Harrison Avenue from where it is now. It had a heavy rotten egg smell, as I recall.

Tony Otto didn’t have any explanation for the weeping in the roadway in front of his office. He wonders about danger from ice forming on the wet spot, but said he’s unaware of any accidents there.

What will Bremerton’s new car tab fee buy?

The in basket: I’ve been reading the recent news articles about the city of Bremerton’s newly enacted $20 car tab fee to raise money for the repair of city streets. I was expecting some discussion of specific projects that might be accomplished with the money, but the articles were limited to how much would be raised and when.
Over the last few years, I have gotten inquiries from Janet Gupton and Jeff Johnston about prospects for improving the poor condition of Kitsap Way from Highway 3 to Kitsap Lake and Pat (no last name) about Naval Avenue between Sixth and 11th streets, as well as others.
I asked city engineers what is likely to be done first with the money to be raised.
The out basket: City engineer Tom Knuckey and street Engineer Gunnar Fridriksson were unable to provide such specifics, because those decisions are yet to be made. They will be the work of what they call the Public Works Committee with the final decisions to be made by the City Council. Those choices will come in early 2012.
Gunnar, however, sent along the most recent annual rating of pavement conditions that show which city streets are in the worst shape. Arterials and collectors (omitting residential streets) are listed from worst to best. The rating is on a scale of 1 to 100, with anything under 10 in need of complete removal and replacement.
The ratings will be among the things the council will consider in choosing work to be done.
Kitsap Way from Austin Drive to Birchfield Drive and just north of Auto Center Way is among those rated zero. So is Naval Avenue from Seventh Street south. North of Seventh it scores slightly better and the block between 10th and 11th is judged quite sound.
Also on the zero to 9 list are portions of Austin Drive, Callow Avenue, Harlow Drive, Marine Drive, Rocky Point Road, Preble Street, Shorewood Drive, Callahan Drive, Old Wheaton Way, Union Avenue, Schley Boulevard, Sheridan Road, Lebo Boulevard, Oyster Bay Avenue, Marine Drive. High Avenue, Price Road, Sylvan Way and even short stretches of Sixth and 11th streets.
Well over a mile of West Belfair Valley Road, a city street by dint of it’s being part of the annexation of the city watershed, rates a zero to 3.
And that includes nothing classified as a residential street, a category that comprises 61 percent of the city’s lane miles. Of those residential streets, 8.67 percent also are rated 0-10.
Clearly, there is a large pent-up demand for street repair in the city and city officials are already on record saying the extra money will pay for only about an eighth of what really should be accomplished each year, about a mile of repaving per year. If you hope your residential street can get a cut of the money, you’d best be prepared for some politicking at the city council level in the new year.

‘Perfect’ cul-de-sac not what it seems, says county

The in basket: Jim De Lorm wrote in mid-July, “I just received a notice that the county is going to pave the cul-de-sac where I live on Friday, July 22.” It’s Fircrest Place SE, just off Fircrest Drive in South Kitsap.

“Believe me, this cul-de-sac is in perfect shape. What a waste of money. I would think the money could be put to better use some place else.”

I guessed that it might be another of the county’s pervious pavement test sites and asked if I was close.

The out basket: No, says Don Schultz, county road superintendent, it’s just regular maintenance.

“While your reader believes Fircrest Place SE is in perfect shape, our pavement management system rates the road in poor condition,” Don said.

“Roads in Kitsap County are periodically inspected and assigned a rating score. The overall score considers pavement conditions including alligator cracking, rutting, surface deterioration due to raveling or aging and other factors. The score assigned to a road relates to its relative condition. (Fircrest Place) was last paved in 1974 and has a current surface score of 32.”

On that scale, 89 to 100 is excellent, 67 to 88 is good, 49 to 66 is fair,  21 to 48 is poor and zero to 20 means failed

“Each year road supervisors review road ratings to determine the best way to utilize the limited funds available to preserve the  county road system. Based on the rating score and other factors (proximity to other projects, equipment and material availability, the ‘window’ available for this type of maintenance work) they select roads to include on our annual paving schedule (http://www.kitsapgov.com/pw/roadpave.htm).

“Systematic preventive maintenance is usually much more cost effective than waiting until a road fails,” he said. “It’s like the old FRAM oil filter cliché, ‘You can pay me now, or you can pay me later.’ By maintaining roads in the poor category before they fail, and restoring them to good or excellent condition, we keep those roads functional and ensure their use well into the future.”


Odd strip of new pavement on Wheaton Way

The in basket: I was intrigued by an odd paving project done on Wheaton Way north of Sheridan Road the week of June 14. It was a continuous narrow strip of new asphalt after the old was dug out, running north from in front of Albertson’s in the northbound outer lane.

The state’s project information list said it would run all the way to the city limits at Riddell Road and all the way back to Sheridan. I wondered what on earth required it. It looked like perhaps some past utility trench wasn’t repaired correctly.

The out basket: The project list description was misleading, as the dig-outs and pavement replacement took on the more familiar intermittent pattern after it got north of Sylvan Way. Only a few places were patched in the southbound direction, once again near the curb.

Duke Stryker, head of maintenance operations for state highways in Kitsap and Mason counties, said the street, which to the state is Highway 303, was identified as a trouble spot in their annual spring review in which a state materials engineer drives state highways with local maintenance crews to plan the year’s pavement repair.

Duke said the outer wheel rut carved by millions of cars over the years, worsened by water accumulating against the curb, caused the deterioration. The three wheel ruts farther from the curb didn’t have the excess water to worsen the wear. The outer rut pavement was badly “alligatored” and needed replacement, he said. .

It took them a week. This week (June 21) the crews are doing similar work on Highway 3 in Gorst. Tuesday and Wednesday, they’ll be closing the Purdy Bridge at the east end of Highway 302 to repave it. The Gorst and Purdy work will be done at night. Purdy traffic will be detoured via Pine Road and other local streets during the closures.

Pavement losing its color at Burley-Olalla

The in basket: As I drove north on Highway 16 past the new Burley-Olalla Road interchange recently, i thought the wheel paths in the pavement had lost more of their black coloration than I would have expected. The asphalt looked more like what I see on aging parts of I-5, but without the obvious rutting and the loud tire noise. 

I asked if the asphalt wasn’t wearing well.

The out basket: The project engineer for the interchange project, Brenden Clarke, says the loss of color is normal.

“It is typical for asphalt pavement to fade to gray in about nine months,” he said. “The pavement is actually wearing well.”

Pavement arrows in Gorst puzzle reader — and me

The in basket: Alan Lowe of Port Orchard wants to know the purpose of the arrows in the through lanes in Gorst westbound, shortly after one passes beneath the railroad overpass. 

There are three in a row in each of the three lanes, pointing straight ahead. What else might a driver do but continue straight, Alan asked.

The in basket: I had driven over the arrows hundreds of times without ever noticing them until Alan asked. Afterward, though, I saw the same kind of arrows in the southbound lanes of Highway 16 near Gig Harbor between the Wollochet and Burnham Drive interchanges. I had to concede that I couldn’t puzzle out what message they are intended to send drivers. 

The out basket: Both locations are near spots where a confused, impaired or inattentive driver might head in the wrong direction and travel into oncoming traffic. In Gorst, it is the wide area in the middle of the town where drivers can turn around and go back the other way. In Gig Harbor it’s the Haven of Rest Cemetery. 

In each case the arrows are extra visual cues that would tell a driver he’s going in the wrong direction — if all those cars coming at him or her hadn’t already conveyed the message.