Tag Archives: Port Orchard

Lund, Bethel due some pavement work. Lund and Harris to get stoplight

The in basket; As I drove east on Lund Avenue away from Bethel Road in South Kitsap recently, I noticed fairly severe “alligatoring,”  the irregular cracks that develop in an aging roadway. The roughness in front of Safeway is what caught my eye in the first place, and I noticed it continued to a lesser degree all the way to in front of the West Sound Utility complex.

I looked at the county’s six-year plan for capital improvements, called the TIP and extending out six years, but found nothing that mentioned Lund except a new traffic signal at Lund and Harris Road in 2015. I asked the county if it thought that portion of Lund will last more than six years without being repaved.

The out basket: Paving isn’t a capital project so doesn’t appear on the TIP, said Doug Bear of county public works. There are lists of both repaving and  chip seal projects planned for this year viewable online at the county’s Web site, divided into North, Central and South Kitsap projects.

It’s not shown online yet, but the county’s worn stretch of Lund is due repaving next year, he said, except for the last few hundred yards before one reaches Bethel Road heading west, where the road’s condition first caught my eye. That has been annexed to the city of Port Orchard. Mark Dorsey, city public works director, says they hope to find money for dig-outs and patching work there and along the rest of the Bethel Corridor next year. Anything more substantial is years away, he said.

The county’s six-year-TIP can be seen at www.kitsapgov.com/pw/pdf/2013-2018_TIP.pdf. The 2013 paving and chip seal plans are at www.kitsapgov.com/pw/roadpave.htm and www.kitsapgov.com/pw/roadchipseal.htm, respectively.

I can’t use up a lot of space saying what paving is planned this year, but I  can tease you by saying parts of Clear Creek Road, Angeline Avenue, Suquamish Way, Ridgetop Boulevard, Gold Creek Road, Pioneer Road, Price Road, Harlow Drive, Spruce Road, Collins Road, Converse Avenue and Beach Drive are on the list, along with many others. Look them up if you’re interested.

A couple of definitions to close: Chip seals are pavings done by pouring gravel on hot oil spread on the old pavement. Dig outs involve grinding out a few inches of deteriorated pavement in rectangles, and filling the holes with new asphalt.

Port Orchard pier project, first phase, nearing completion

The in basket: Downtown Port Orchard traffic has been rerouted recently near the closed Lighthouse restaurant for work on a city pier. Incoming traffic is routed onto the outside shoulder and that leaving the city uses the center lane.

I thought I’d read that the city would redo the pier, but the work so far has been on the shore, and looked to me as I drove past like replacing the seawall.

I asked for specifics.

The out basket: George Thompson of the city says the concrete work isn’t a seawall replacement, but is to create an abutment to anchor the pier to the shore, plus a small public observation area just to the east.

A little work on the pier itself will be part of this project, but much more will be done in a second phase that’s at least a year away.

The current work, aiming for a June 14 conclusion, will put lights on the elevated portion of the dock, landscape the shoreline, replace the sidewalk, install some new decking and stringers as well as the observation area and abutment.

The later work will add 100 to 200 feet to the elevated portion of the pier, then drop down to the floats, which will be replaced, he said. He didn’t know if the overall length of the pier will grow.

City says it isn’t responsible for ruts in theater’s approach

The in basket: Suzie Womack-Pride e-mailed to say, “I am writing on behalf of our local non-profit theater group Western Washington Center for the Arts located on Bay Street in Port Orchard.

“There are several very deep and very dangerous potholes (I heard theater attendees have fallen into them!) directly in front of the building in the parking ,” she said. “I investigated and learned this area is within a 75-foot right-of-way deeded in 1886.

“I contacted the city of Port Orchard’s public works director and  he said they would not be filling the pot holes as ‘they do not necessarily maintain their right of way.’
“I assumed once the city learned of a potential danger for the public it would be taken care of, as it could very simply and easily be done. This small theater group has concerns of their own liability should someone become injured due to these pot holes.
“Please help us! We will do the work ourselves if we must,” she said, “but my goodness, it would be nice to get some community cooperation, especially from the entity that holds the most responsibility, our city!”

The out basket: She doesn’t exaggerate the condition of the area in front of their theater. While it would be hard for someone to fall “into” one of the depressions, they could be ankle breakers. But is will be up to the building owner to fix them.

Mark Dorsey, the public works director, likened the situation to that of a sidewalk, for which the abutting landowner is responsible if it deteriorates – or is covered with snow, for that a matter.

“Basically only roadway improvements are maintained under state law,” he said, “whereby roadway improvements include the 1) the travelled way and 2) the shoulder.  The state and the city only maintain the portion of the roadway included within the roadway improvement.

“In the case of the approach/parking lot for the WWCA,” he said, “two-thirds….of  their parking lot and their approach is located within the right-of-way.

“What she is basically asking the city to do is pave their approach and private parking lot using taxpayer money.  There are thousands of examples throughout the state where either parking lots, driveways and/or commercial approaches are located within right of way…..but that doesn’t mean it’s maintained by the taxpayers.

“The same is true for sidewalks…..it’s the adjoining property owner’s responsibility to maintain their segment of the sidewalk,” Mark said.


Huge Bethel Road project not proceeding soon

The in basket: Rance McEntyre and Richard Hood probably speak for thousands of South Kitsapers when they ask whether anything will be done soon to making Bethel Road south of Lund Avenue an easier place to drive.

Rance said last August, “I have heard over the years that the Bethel Corridor would receive an upgraded and/or be paved with turn lanes and beautify the area.

“Bethel Road is one of the worst roads most of us travel and is a major thoroughfare;. The road is full of cracks, dips, manhole plates and holes and literally shakes your car around while traveling. I am glad I don’t ride a motorcycle on this road!

“There are no turn lanes with drivers slamming on brakes and swerving onto the shoulders, causing near accidents near and around Salmonberry and Bethel Square. I ask this of our county government, when will we get a new and improved roadway?”

Richard said he was rear-ended on Bethel at Salmonberry in July, after barely stopping in time to avoid the car in front of him. There were no injuries and little damage, but he said, “I do not know the accident statistics on that stretch of Bethel, but I do wonder if there are any plans to add center lanes for turning traffic in the foreseeable future?

“The road has always seemed dangerous to me for drivers going in and out of traffic, and today made me scratch my head about it a little bit more,” he said.

The out basket: It’s no longer a Kitsap County project, as the road and its surroundings have been annexed into Port Orchard.

The city’s Public Works Director Mark Dorsey tells me the long-awaited improvements to Bethel are not imminent. The best he hopes for is about $200,000 worth of grinding out the worst pavement and replacing it, perhaps next year, “to at least address the poor road surface condition.”

“The Bethel plan has been designed and reviewed over 15 years, most recently in 2006,” he said. “We’ve inherited a very large problem to deal with, and first we must redesign the plan to break it into phases we can get funding for. And we must acquire the right of way, because the county didn’t.”

He wants to compare the costs and aesthetics of using roundabouts, which would look nicer, he said.

He sees no little federal money available to help. “Future federal funding is much more restrictive and/or risky,” he said. “Under MAP 21 rules, the city may not be able to accept (federal) grant funding for the redesign, environmental review or right-of-way acquisition.

“With luck, possibly the redesign (doubt it) in 2014, as well,” Mark said.

MAP-21 is shorthand for Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century, a $105 billion “surface transportation” program signed into law by President Obama last July.

In the meantime, Mark is trying to find the money to proceed with two roundabouts on Tremont Street at Pottery Avenue and South Kitsap Boulevard, a project the city has had on the drawing boards almost as long as the county had the Bethel Corridor before surrendering it to the city.



PO lane closure for extension of shoreline trail

The in basket: A short stretch of one of the three lanes that comprise Bay Street in Port Orchard has been closed and its traffic detoured into the center two-way turn lane, prohibiting left turns at Seattle and Rockwell streets and pedestrian use of the north side of the street,

I figured it was for work to extend the city boardwalk trail eastward. Steve Slayton of the Port of Bremerton gave me a call before I asked about it, and confirmed that that’s one purpose of the work.

The out basket: The city of Port Orchard ultimately would like to have the trail extend all the way to Retsil, I think, and has made the next extension part of the port’s project to enlarge its Marina Park, where summer concerts and year-round playground activity occur.

It will be passive recreation project with a viewing platform built atop part of the foundation of one of two houses to be demolished. One is half gone, he said, and the other will bereaved shortly. There also will be a stairwell to the beach near the Marlee Apartments, which will be the eastern end of the trail for the time being when the project is finished in May, he said.

I’ve always wondered how residents of the two homes managed to come and go via their steep accesses, and Steve said it’s a tight fit for the trucks removing the rubble, which requires the extra room provided by the lane closure. It will be closed probably until mid-April, Steve said.

I’ve never understood why so many pedestrians use the water side of the street, which has no improvements for them, and there is a sidewalk on the other side. Its temporary closure to them seems to me to be a good thing.

Misleading center strip replaced on Highway 166

The in basket: In the early 1970s, when I was a new reporter for The Sun, I almost made headlines while assigned to accompany the Kitsap County commissioners on a fact-finding mission to Northern California to look at recreational developments done by Boise Cascade, which wanted to create one on Hood Canal.

One dark night after dinner, I was driving our rental car with the commissioners – Bill Mahan, Gene Lobe and Frank Randall – as passengers on a curving mountain road near Grass Valley.

With a slow driver ahead of me, I watched the center striping for a sign that I had a chance to pass. I came to a dashed line on my side, pulled out to pass and found an oncoming car coming around a bend.

I just barely made it back into my lane ahead of the car I was passing, or I might have been responsible for the deaths of the commissioners and myself.

That scare came to mind recently when I happened to notice the striping on Highway 166 coming out of Port Orchard heading toward Gorst. I rarely pay attention to the striping on local roads I drive all the time, not needing the information they provide.

I noticed that there was a dashed stripe on my side as I drove west toward Gorst, indicating it was safe to pass there if there was no oncoming traffic, even though it was in a curve that ended with a rise beyond which a driver could not see. I seemed very much like the stripe that had misled me in California all those years ago. I had no idea how long it had been like that.

I asked State Traffic Operations Engineer Steve Bennett if it wasn’t an accident waiting to happen.

The out basket: Yes, Steve said, and you won’t find that stripe there today.

“After looking at that section, we agreed that it should have been striped as no-pass,” he said on Dec. 11. “Last week or so, we went out and striped it. We believe it had been incorrectly striped as part of the last paving project on the highway.”

That was a couple of years ago. It’s funny it went unnoticed so long.


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.

State will repair Mile Hill’s rough pavement

The in basket: Bill Bellman and Bob Baxter wrote me earlier this year about the spot half-way up Mile Hill in Port Orchard where the pavement had developed shallow patches where the upper layer of asphalt had chipped away. The  surface is quite rough.

Bill said in February, “I believe you wrote in the past about the 200 feet or so of Mile Hill Drive where we who drive it daily weave around pot holes in the section of road that has not been maintained.

“The issue I believe was who was responsible for this strip, the city, the county or the state.  It seems by now the issue of responsibility should have been resolved and the short section repaired and repaved.

“Can you determine the status of who is responsible and when we can expect this section to be repaired?” he asked.

Bob wrote in April, “My concern is the removal of the trees along Mile Hill road in Port Orchard. The road surface from the stop light up the hill and on both sides has many pot holes in it.

“To spend the money taking the trees down along the road needlessly is not a good decision. Instead the potholes should have been taken care of. Who makes these decisions and how are they held accountable?”

The out basket: The Legislature assigned the care of that stretch, the last few hundred feet of Highway 166 before it becomes a county road, to the state over a year ago. The state had hinted that it should be the city of Port Orchard’s responsibility, but the city got help from local legislators and was able to turn back that attempt.

Robert mistakenly linked the tree cutting and the road work. The trees were cut on Puget Sound Energy’s dime, as part of a new $4 million power transmission line to help prevent outages in Manchester. That money couldn’t have been spent on road work.

Duke Stryker, head of state highway maintenance here, said the site had “fallen off our radar” until I sent copies of Bill and Bob’s inquiries to him. He and some of his employees visited that area on July 3 and saw that something needed to be done.

You can see white paint on the pavement bracketing where they soon will be digging out the old pavement and replacing it with new. Duke said it should be done sometime in the next four weeks and probably will take only a day.

Technically those aren’t pot holes, though. Pot holes go all the way down to the road base and can be quite destructive to cars’ tires and suspensions. The problems on Mile Hill are called “delaminations,” when a previous layer of pavement is exposed when a later one wears away in patches.

Blinking Port Orchard crosswalk gets a new life

The in basket: Pedestrian traffic can be fairly heavy in downtown Port Orchard on Farmer’s Market Saturdays, as it was on June 23, when my wife and I were among those walking around.

I was surprised to see that not only were all the flashing lights that call attention to the crosswalk on Bay Street at Frederick Street lighting, but they were noticeably brighter. You could see them flashing in the daylight from a block away.

I had kind of figured that that crosswalk was being allowed to go dark as the lights burned out. In January 2009,  shortly after the state repaved downtown Port Orchard, Jim Michelinie of Port Orchard described it thusly. “I drive through that intersection at least twice a day, usually in the dark this time of year. The signals are triggered when a pedestrian approaches the crosswalk and flashing lights imbedded in the pavement warn drivers.

“Unfortunately, since the paving project was mostly completed, the signals have become schizophrenic. The lights flash when no pedestrians are present or even near. At other times I’m surprised by pedestrians in the crosswalk when there are no warning lights. Am I the only one who’s noticed the problem?”

I asked City Public Works Director Mark Dorsey if the lighted crosswalk  had gotten a new life.

The out basket: Yes, Mark said, the city had Kitsap County, which maintains Port Orchard’s street electronics under an interlocal agreement, replace the original signals with LED lamps, hence the increased brightness.

It was done a couple of months ago, he said, and the money came from a reserve fund associated with that agreement.

I suspect a lot of pedestrians don’t know what triggers the blinking lights. Many may not even have known they are blinking because they shine outward and not into the crosswalk.   When a person passes between the  pair of white pylons that bracket the ends of the crosswalk, it starts the lights blinking long enough for the person to cross.

If a person enters the crosswalk but walks outside the pylons, he or she doesn’t get the added protection of the blinking lights. Conversely, anything or anyone passing through the pylons but not crossing the street sets off the lights.

Port Orchard on hook for Highway 166 shoulders

The in basket: Port Orchard public works crews closed a lane of Highway 166 downhill from the state’s roundabout for a couple of days the last few days of summer in what looked like an attempt to deal with water that seems to run out of the ditch onto the pavement.

They dug the ditch deeper, but to no avail. The water seems to wick upward onto the shoulder and run out onto  the pavement.

I asked about it.

The out basket: “Yes, the city is trying to provide a conveyance for runoff,” said Public Works Director Mark Dorsey, “but the soil conditions are miserable. This was and/or is a great location for the use of an under-drain system. Unfortunately, (the state) did not design/build the road that way….and I suspect there is no ambition to retrofit at this point, therefore we’re stuck with the applicable maintenance.” The highway was built decades ago.

Though Port Orchard headed off in the Legislature a state attempt to turn all of Highway 166 within the city limits over to the city to maintain – pavement, signals, signs and all – it was and remains responsible for the shoulders.