Tag Archives: Sidney

Sidney Road bypass lane at Wildwood called ‘a joke’

The in basket: Nick, who gave no last name, wrote in mid-October , “A number of the people I talked to think the (recently built) county bypass lane at Sidney and Wildwood roads is a joke .

“The northbound bypass lane still has traffic cones blocking its use. If you are coming off Wildwood and turning to go north on Sidney, and you have a low vehicle, the power pole and high guard rail block your view of any traffic coming toward you on Sidney. Consequently, you have to pull up almost into the southbound lane of Sidney. There has been one vehicle accident that I know of so far.

“Why didn’t  the county start the bypass  lane north of Wildwood so there would be turn lane onto Wildwood?”

The out basket: Once again, I found visiting a completed county project at an out-of-the-way location provided a big surprise as to its scope. As with the work the county did at Mullenix and Bethel-Burley a while back, the Sidney bypass lane involved a lot of earth work and a retaining wall, not just an extra lane of pavement.

There were no cones when I was there and no northbound bypass lane was part of the project.

Jeff Shea, Kitsap County’s traffic engineer, detailed the evolution of the job.

“A history of collisions with stopped left turning vehicles being rear-ended put this intersection on the construction program list. On a 45 mph road, that can be very dangerous.

“Our initial plan was to construct a left turn lane and get turning traffic out of the through lane of the road,” Jeff said. “(But) the turn lane length extended well past the Wildwood intersection.  Extending the lane past the intersection is unacceptable for safety reasons.

“The second alternative was a continuous two-way left turn lane that included both the Wildwood and Shannon Drive intersections. This was ruled out because of the conflict of left turning vehicles from both directions.  Due to the direction of the intersections’ offset, left-turning vehicles from both directions would share the same lane, which could lead to a very dangerous head-on collision.

“We did some research on the Federal Highway Administration website and found some states were using the ‘bypass’ lane configuration successfully to reduce rear-end collisions. The decision was made to try the configuration at this location due to the collision pattern and monitor the location to see if it works.

“While out looking at the completed project,” Jeff said, “I personally witnessed a motorist maneuver around a stopped left-turning vehicle at a high rate of speed.  If the lane had not been present, I would have either witnessed a rear-end collision or a motorist driving into the ditch.

“I am not sure what the reader is referring to by the bypass lane in the northbound direction, because there is no bypass in that direction.  The rear-end collision frequency at Wildwood did not warrant any improvements at that intersection.

“The collision that I am aware of at this location was due to a motorist pulling out in front of an oncoming vehicle.

“Since the collision we have installed a stop line to help motorists know where to stop and look in both directions for oncoming cars.  Since the stop line was installed I am not aware of any collisions at this location.

“As to the cones still being there…they were not placed there by Kitsap County and have been removed.”



Extra outside ‘lane’ at Sedgwick & Sidney

The in basket: Jim Milner e-mails to say the intersection of Sidney and Sedgwick roads in South Kitsap, for traffic approaching from the Highway 16 freeway, has a problem.

It “faces four traffic lights at the intersection,” Jim said, one for left turn, one for straight ahead, one for straight ahead /right turn. There are three lanes of traffic. one left turn, one straight ahead and one straight ahead/right turn. There is another lane on the right shoulder that appears to be controlled by the fourth light, yet at the same time it is not designated as a traffic lane.
“This creates no small amount of confusion,” Jim said, “resulting in many near collisions between those using the designated right turn lane and another driver assuming the extreme lane is a designated turn lane. I have been told by a KCSO deputy that if an accident were to occur at that intersection, both parties would be cited for failure to yield right of way.
“Why are there four lights to control three lanes of traffic?”
The out basket: You’ll find one more signal head than there are lanes at nearly every signalized intersection, including in the other directions at that one. It’s a federally required redundancy on the main movement at such intersections, in case one signal head fails or is obscured by other traffic.

Mark Dorsey, public works director for Port Orchard, says, “What Mr. Milner is seeing is ‘extra asphalt’ at the shoulder.  The edge stripe/fog line heading west (coming from Lowe’s) is continuous with the combination through lane (westbound)/right-turn(northbound.)

“There is potentially room for a right-turn pocket with curb/gutter/sidewalk and that will be a future improvement, but for now……the edge strip designates the lane…….and people crossing the edge stripe and using it as a right-turn lane are being ticketed.”

Left-turn lane vs. a bypass lane

The in basket: Kitsap County Public Works has put out a couple of alerts about construction beginning on a bypass lane on Sidney Road in South Kitsap at Shannon Drive, which is the main road into the Parkview Terrace housing development.

One said in part: “The project widens the travel lanes from the current 11 feet to 12 feet; constructs a 12-foot southbound bypass lane; and paves and widens the existing gravel shoulders from six feet to eight feet.”

It sounds like a project to get left-turners out of the through traffic to cut down on rear-end accidents.

But I had only heard the word “bypass” used in terms of long stretches like those around Purdy and Sequim, and proposed for Belfair. I asked what’s the difference between a bypass lane and a left-turn lane.

The out basket: Dick Dadisman of public works said, “As you surmised, the purpose of our Sidney Road Bypass Lane project is to make left turns safer from rear-end crashes at the Shannon Drive intersection.

“The section of Sidney Road from Wildwood Road to Shannon Drive has a history of vehicle collisions with the Sidney Road / Shannon Drive intersection ranked 38th out of the 128 high accident intersections evaluated by Kitsap County.

“The bypass lane will allow southbound vehicles the opportunity to move to the right and pass vehicles stopped and waiting to make a left turn at Shannon Drive.  With the close proximity of the Wildwood Road and Shannon Drive intersections, there is not sufficient separation between these intersections to construct left-turn channelization. Therefore, the bypass lane design was chosen.”

Poor soils bedevil Highway 16 near Sedgwick

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 sinking.”

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 it?”

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 from Sedgwick.

Frankly, neither problem seems to me to be a hazard to motorists.

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 asphalt.

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.


Sidney in PO due some paving, but not where reader wants

The in basket: Ken Hartung thinks Sidney Road in Port Orchard from Lippert Drive to its dead end at Stetson Place is long overdue for paving. He said “it looks like the paved from Tremont to Lippert and then they just quit. It is terrible.”

The out basket: Maybe so, but the city of Port Orchard believes some other streets to be more in need of spending its limited paving money on, says Mark Dorsey, its public works director.

“We hope in 2011 to overlay Sidney between Tremont and South Street, Sedgwick between Lowe’s and our westerly city limits (up to where the county paved just outside the city recently) .and possibly South Kitsap Boulevard if we have any remaining dollars.”

Work on Sidney from Lippert south isn’t even in the city’s six-year TIP (Transportation Improvement Plan) that looks ahead to 2016. Ken and anyone who agrees with him might make their views known to the city council near the end of the year when the TIP is updated each year.

Too many signal heads at Sidney & Sedgwick?

The in basket: Greg Weber writes to ask, “Would you happen to know why are there four sets of lights for only three lanes at the intersection of Sidney Road  and Sedgwick Road (in South Kitsap)?

“When traveling westbound on Sedgwick, and approaching Sidney, you will be facing four sets of lights. They are laid out as follows:

– Left, the turn-only lane for turning south onto Sidney

– Left center, for crossing the intersection and continuing on Sedgwick

– Right center, for crossing the intersection or turning north onto Sidney

– Right, appears to be too far right  to be of use.

“The fourth light appears to have been intended for a fourth lane that never was developed, a turn-only lane for turning north.  The painted lane markings do not appear to open this lane for use, however, and it should be considered the shoulder.  Regardless of the lane markings, some drivers (in-attentive youth jabbering on their cell phones, more often than not) squeeze to the right of others also intending to turn north.”

The out basket: Port Orchard’s public works director, Mark Dorsey, not being an expert of traffic signals, didn’t hazard a guess about the extra signal, but does say there are no new lanes or other improvements planned at that intersection, except a video detection unit to improve the westbound through lane/right turn lane. He also noted some other intersections nearby that also seem to have extra signal heads.

But here’s what I think. It’s not just the westbound traffic that faces four signal heads for three lanes at Sedgwick and Sidney. Northbound traffic on Sidney does also.

Federal standards for signals require two per lane for the major movement at any intersection. It’s a redundancy in case the one signal goes out or is obstructed by a large vehicle and applies to the lane or lanes likely to have the highest speeds.

At Sidney and Sedgwick, and most other places, those are the through lanes. Two signals for the through lanes and one each for the turning movements add up to the four you see.

You might also expect an extra signal head to control southbound traffic on Sidney, as there are three lanes southbound there, too. But Jeff Shea, traffic engineer for Kitsap County, says  two signals for the major movement are the only requirement,. Whoever designed the signal system there presumably decided that the signal heads there meet the standard

And yes, the wide area outside the edge line for westbound traffic is the shoulder and an illegal place to drive, although many drivers, not just teens on cell phones, use the shoulder there and at most other intersections to make a right turn on red when traffic keeps them from making the turn legally.

Port Orchard striping is a waiting game


The in basket: Sarann Walker and Cliff Kincaid are concerned about a couple of places inside the city of Port Orchard where the lane striping has worn off and drivers have to guess where they should be relative to other traffic.

Sarann lives near Marcus Whitman Junior High and is worried about the lack of striping on Mile Hill Drive at the city limits around Harrison Street.

“It’s a real mess trying to make a left turn onto Harrison or in the opposite direction,” she said. “The stripes are all worn away. l don’t feel really comfortable there.”

Cliff sees the same problem at the intersection of Sedgwick and Sidney roads at the town’s southern city limits.  

“If you are headed east at the new intersection,” he said, “the yellow line for the left turn lane heading west has been obliterated. I’ve almost had a head-on there, though I am a pretty cautious driver.”

The out basket: Mark Dorsey, public works director for Port Orchard, says he is getting anxious waiting for Kitsap County, with which the city contracts for the annual restriping of its streets, to get the job done. The contract has been signed for a couple of months, he said, and bad weather is coming. 

He expects the county’s work to include both the areas Sarann and Cliff describe, even though the Mile Hill spot is where the city and state are at odds over which should be maintaining it. The city this summer filled in the delaminations that were creating a rough roadway there and will pay for the striping while the jurisdictional issue is hashed out, he said.

The state plans to ask the Legislature for permission to turn Highway 166 from the Sidney Avenue intersection downtown to the eastern city limit near Harrison over to the city. Mark says the city doesn’t plan to “just roll over and let them,” and is working with state Sen. Derek Kilmer on a strategy for opposing the plan.

The striping of city streets also will include Tremont Street from the city limit to the Highway 16 freeway. Mark said the city’s contract with the county doesn’t call for the added expense of recessing the reflective lane markers there, as the county was able to do for the first time from the city limits east this spring.

Sedgwick-Sidney signal hadn’t been working

The in basket: Thom Smithson wrote on May 6 to say something was wrong with the traffic signal at Sedgwick and Sidney roads in Port Orchard.

“The timing on this light going east and west on Sedgwick has been totally screwed up for months,” he said. “For a while it has let east and west and turn traffic on Sedgwick sit for up to five minutes watching little or no traffic go by on Sidney. 

“Yesterday evening was too much,” he said. “I was going east on Sedgwick and was stopped at the intersection for its normal extended wait but it did a new one. I sat through two cycles watching Sydney traffic go north and south with the usual interminable wait but this time the light stayed red for us going east while the west bound straight and turn traffic went their merry way. I finally managed to illegally inch past the lady in front of me on the right and turn south on Sidney then go through the Albertson’s parking lot to get past the intersection.

“Please see if you can get anyone to look into this.”

The out basket: It should be fixed now. Mark Dorsey, Port Orchard’s public works director, had the city of Bremerton signal shop, with which Port Orchard contracts for signal maintenance, check the signal and they found “some errors in the computer….made repairs/adjustments.  Hopefully it is fixed,” he said.

Thom tells me,”East and west on Sedgwick is still a bit long but not as bad as it was.”