The in basket: Two readers have suggested that the condition of
Highway 16 in both directions just north of the Sedgwick
interchange needs work.
Nelson Lanchester wrote some weeks ago, “When is the state going
to admit and fix Highway 16 westbound north of Sedgwick interchange
where the highway starts to go up the hill.
“When they constructed the additional two lanes back when, they
used sawdust as a fill instead of earth/rock,” Nelson said. “After
this many years the sawdust has deteriorated and the highway is
Then this month, Vivian Henderson had this to say about a spot
on the other side of the highway.
“There is a huge patch of asphalt that appears to have been put
down hastily long ago and never improved. It has been there
for years, covers both lanes extensively as well as the highway
shoulders. It is breaking down and is getting rougher and
rougher to drive over. I’m wondering if it poses a hazard to
drivers not expecting the surface of the road to change so
abruptly; especially at night. Why doesn’t the state fix
The out basket: Well, the state does fix it, intermittently and
temporarily, with what local Maintenance Superintendent Duke
Stryker calls a “grader patch.”
A grader spreads a layer of asphalt over the surface to
compensate for whatever subsidence has occurred. I recall it last
being done two years ago, when the patch got noticeably wider. Dke
said “the Integrity of the structure of the road wasn’t
compromised,” so the grader patch was sufficient..
That entire area suffers from poor soils and both problems
stem from subsidence that results.
That spot Vivian mentions is fairly obvious, but the dip in the
lanes heading toward Gorst is more subtle. I’d never noticed it
until Nelson mentioned it. It’s just past the end of the on-ramp
Frankly, neither problem seems to me to be a hazard to
The state does have some repaving planned this summer in the
lanes bound for Gorst, Duke says, but not on the highway heading
the other way.
Duke was surprised by Nelson’s description of the construction
of those lanes with sawdust, saying that just isn’t a material
acceptable to the state. But it has been used.
Mel Holgerson, state project engineer when the Gorst-bound lanes
were built, said they used sawdust to minimize the weight of the
roadway. The alternative would have been to dig out and
replace marshy soil to a depth of about 35 feet and they feared
that the other two lanes, built years before, might give way
because of the digging that close to them, Mel said.
When Kitsap County extended Sedgwick Road west from Sidney Road
years later, it did dig out a lot of the bad soil but still needed
a membrane fabric to support the roadway, former assistant public
works director Ron Yingling tells me.
And I recall reporting on the use of wood chips years ago as the
base for the repair of Highway 166 just west of Ross Point when it
was called Highway 160. The roadway had simply dropped away toward
Sinclair Inlet. It was a variation on the problems along that
highway that usually involved slides from above covering the
The idea was to use a lightweight fill material to keep the base
below the asphalt from giving way again. And so far, it hasn’t,
though I’ve been watching a subsidence that Duke’s crews patched
last year around the point on the Port Orchard side.
That’s not where the wood chips went, though.