Tag Archives: Seabeck Highway

New markings on new Seabeck Highway pavement called inadequate

The in basket: Kathryn Seals writes to say she has been

wondering if I’ve had any comments on the striping/reflectors on the new stretches of pavement leading to the recently completed roundabout at Seabeck Highway/Holly Road.

“The paint has minimal reflective content and the actual reflectors are few and far between,” she said. “Most of the new roads I’ve been on have been brightly marked and more reflective than an airport runway.

“However, driving Seabeck Highway home in the dark last night from the Bremerton direction was like trying to navigate a wet black sea.

“I could barely see a center line or shoulder stripes — and oncoming traffic glare made for a pretty nerve-wracking couple of miles.  Maybe the crews put down temporary ‘first coat’ markings but haven’t gotten back for the final application? Otherwise whatever they did hasn’t lasted.

“I know it’s the wrong time of year for a re-stripe (something sorely needed on ALL our roads out this way) but maybe the county road crews could slap down a few dozen more reflectors in all directions to help until spring.”

The out basket: Jeff Shea, the county’s traffic engineer says, “We have not noticed the problem encountered by your reader. The newly paved section of Seabeck Highway is marked the same as other roads with that speed and federal functional class.

“The road is striped with fresh paint, double coated, for both the yellow centerline and white edge lines. Raised reflective pavement markers are on the centerline to improve visibility.  The markers are spaced the same as on all other county roads.

“In addition to added visibility for the centerline, the markers also improve the visibility during rainy weather.  Water on the road tends to degrade the reflectivity of the paint making it much more difficult to see.  The markers help counter this problem by their height above the standing water.

“Of note in visibility issues during rainy weather is the pavement itself. New pavement is very dark and reflects little to no light.  This makes the roadway more difficult to see and adding the water from the rain makes the painted lines hard to see.  As a road ages and sees wear and tear from vehicles, the small stones in the asphalt start to wear through and reflect some light making roads easier to see.

“We restripe all county-maintained roads each year,” he added, though as Kathryn suggested, not this time of year.

Seabeck Highway STILL bumpy from PSE work

The in basket: Greg Salo writes, “For those of us that travel Seabeck Highway westbound from the Bremerton end to Holly Road, this year has been a year of construction and anticipation of the completion of the underground power line project and the repaving of a stretch of the road.

“Initially the ‘patch job’ that Puget Sound Energy did on the westbound lanes was so poor and bumpy the county told PSE to redo the entire lane (which they did).  The second paving effort has been an improvement, and did remove many of the bumps and dips caused by the installation of the underground power lines.

“However, each of the PSE access covers on the surface of the westbound lanes has now ‘matured’ into more bumps and holes that we have to negotiate around and through, in an attempt to not damage our tires and suspensions.

“Will the County again tell PSE to fix the hazards they have created on the westbound road surface?  At the very least, there needs to be a typical road hazard sign placed at the approach to each access cover.  (BUMP AHEAD)  It would also be beneficial for each access cover to be painted with reflective white paint as a warning to drivers. Seabeck Highway is very dark during our rainy December nights.

“Could you see if the county is satisfied with the road that PSE has created for us?  And, who will be responsible to mitigate the current hazards at each of the access covers?”

I asked my stepdaughter Ronda Armstrong, who lives out that way, about it and she said she has taken to straddling the edge line at the covers to avoid the bumps.

The out basket: Yes, says  Doug Bear of Kitsap County Public Works, PSE’s contractor Potelco will be working on it, but “it been spending a lot of time lately handling the recent storms and the damage caused by them. That said, they are still on the hook to adjust the vaults to match the existing grade of the road. Their plan, as of last Friday, is to be out there this week working on these issues.”

Seabeck Highway pavement patching called ‘horrible’

The in basket: Craig Ellis says, “There appears to be some paving work that has yet to be done on
Seabeck Highway in and around the new roundabout at the intersection of Seabeck Highway/Holly Road. I am under the assumption that this paving will be taking place over the next few days.
“My question has to do with how far this paving will extend. As you
are aware, (Puget Sound Energy) tore up the center lane of Seabeck Highway all the way from Triangle Auto Repair near Chico to the Holly Road intersection. When they were finished, what we were left with is a
patch of paving running down the center of the lane that is in a word … horrible. When I’m on my motorcycle, I actually have taken to going all the way down to Newberry Hill Road to get to Holly because
that stretch of road is actually dangerous.
“So my main question is …. during this paving project window on
Seabeck Highway, will it extend all the way down to Chico to correct
the paving job that currently exists?”

The out basket: The stretch from Northlake Way to Calamity Lane will be repaved in the one lane that was trenched and repatched, but it’s not part of the county’s project.

The county found that the patch job in the westbound lane of Seabeck Highway did not repair the highway adequately and is requiring PSE to grind out the existing pavement surface and repave it. Dale Robinson, PSE engineering planner for this area, says they want it to be finished by year’s end, much sooner if possible.

I wondered if the undergrounding of the power lines would permit removal of some or all of the power poles, and the answer is no. One of two circuits running out of the Chico substation and serving Holly Road and beyond will remain on those poles, as will cable and phone lines.

Dale said three power poles were removed, but that was to make way for the roundabout the county just built where Seabeck Highway and Holly Road intersect,

The county’s job will pave both lanes radiating out from the roundabout for a short distance.

Comparing roundabouts and traffic signals

The in basket: Al Shelborne of Kingston wants to know the cost comparison of traffic signals versus roundabouts , such as the one being built at the intersection of Holly Road and Seabeck Highway.

And Cindy Warwick of Seabeck spoke for what I’m sure are a number of skeptics that a roundabout is a good idea there. “Are they crazy?” she asked. “This roundabout thing isn’t going to work.”

The out basket: Cindy didn’t get a lot of comfort from me, as I have come to regard roundabouts as a major improvement in traffic control. Like yellow flashing left turn signals, they save a lot of waiting and idling, from a driver’s perspective. We’ll get to the Kitsap County’s perspective in a moment.

There is a learning curve with both, of course, and my stepdaughter, Ronda Armstrong, who lives out there, says she has seen a few drivers at the under-construction roundabout on Seabeck Highway turn left into it from Holly Road to go toward Silverdale, rather than going around to the right, as is required.

It’s hard to understand how a driver could be that unacquainted with roundabout driving with so many of them being built, so maybe those folks just decided to take advantage of the incompleteness of it all to save a second or two.

Anyway, about comparative costs. The county did a direct comparison of a roundabout and traffic signals before it built the Newberry Hill-Chico Way-Silverdale Way roundabout and found the signals to be slightly more costly. I wrote at the time that that analysis probably wouldn’t persuade a roundabout-hater, as there were a lot of variables and assumptions.

This time, they didn’t bother with such a cost comparison (sorry, Al) , and hang their hat on the greater safety and lower ongoing maintenance and operation costs.

Here’s how Tina Nelson, the county’s senior program manager puts it:

“The county conducts a traffic study for every Roads Capital Improvement Project. Typical study elements for an intersection are operation and safety. The data collected told us that traffic control was needed at the intersection to improve the flow of traffic.

Ronda steps in to put a little meat on the bones of that assertion. She says cars coming toward Holly Road from the north are in a curve and often travel at a speed that leaves those waiting to pull out from Holly Road uncertain whether they dare go in case the approaching driver doesn’t turn right onto Holly, as most of them do. If they guess wrong and pull out, a serious T-bone accident can result

Back to Tina. “Our primary improvement in the past has been to install a signal,” she said. “Now with roundabouts and their advantages, we seriously consider them as an alternate to signals. Roundabouts don’t have the maintenance and operations requirements that signals have and they nearly eliminate severe collisions.

“On the flip side they typically require more land space than a signal does.

“The county policy is that: “When an intersection meets all-way stop and/or signal (criteria), roundabouts should be considered as an alternative. Based on the policy, a roundabout ended up becoming the recommended alternative.

“The traffic study specifically determined that: a roundabout would provide a better flow (operation) of the intersection than a signal and channelization, and that it would offer greater reduction in the frequency of injury crashes, and particularly in severity of crashes,” she said.


Seabeck Highway power line job is a rarity

The in basket: I was surprised by an alert Kitsap County put out last week, saying that Puget Sound Energy will be putting electric wires underground along quite a stretch of Seabeck Highway. It begins at Holly Road, where the county will be building a roundabout soon, and continues to Northlake Way.

“Work continues through June,” the notice said. “Traffic is restricted to one lane in the immediate vicinity of the work. Work begins this week and moves easterly as the project advances. Flaggers assist motorists through the work area. Work hours are Monday through Saturday, 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Motorists should expect delays of 5-10 minutes in the immediate vicinity of the work.”

I was surprised because undergrounding power lines is costly and a rarity in such a rural area. I asked Puget Sound Energy what prompted it, if they do this more often than I think, and whether some private development is sharing in the cost.

The out basket: Akiko Oda of PSE says the company doesn’t do this often. “This is an unusual case,” she said. “PSE serves customers all the way out to the small community of Holly from the circuit that is getting the improvement work. The circuit originates at our substation at Northlake Way and is approximately 55 miles long and has a lot of exposure to storms. Installing the underground line will reduce the exposure to weather events.”

The work will put 2.75 miles of new underground 34.5kV feeder cables underground, she said. “We’ll also be moving five power poles to make room for the county’s roundabout project.

“This project is one of the jobs to improve safety and reliability,” she said. “It is not driven by a development.”

Roundabout coming to Seabeck Highway & Holly Road

The in basket: My step-daughter, Ronda Armstrong, of the Lake Symington area says there has been trenching work going on where Holly Road ends at Seabeck Highway and the rumor in the area is that a roundabout will be built there.

I found a difficult-to-decipher mention in the county’s six-year road improvement plan (TIP) of $1.6 million in improvements to that intersection in 2015, but no mention of a roundabout. And the weekly road report made no mention of the trenching work when I looked.

The out basket: The rumor is true, says Doug Bear of Kitsap County Public Works.

“The work being done there currently is under-grounding of utilities in preparation of the intersection improvements next year,” he said. “The project was on the road report previously but slipped off last week. I’ve reposted it.

“The project you referenced in the TIP is the intersection improvement project at that location. Part of that project is determining what improvements would be most effective there. The engineers evaluated different options and a roundabout is considered the best approach to improve that intersection. The rumor is correct!”

The listing in the TIP won’t be modified to show the planned roundabout until the next TIP is approved by the county commissioners at the end of the year.