The in basket: Dave Matney sees a problem with the southbound
off-ramp from Highway 3 to Highway 303 and Silverdale.
“This off-ramp makes a blind turn around a tall concrete wall,
then opens up and splits into three lanes leading up to the signal.
Normally this process flows smoothly, (but) occasional traffic will
back up onto SR-3 well before the blind turn. This happens very
quickly and violently, one second you’re cruising in the outer lane
doing 60mph, the next instantly slamming on your brakes to keep
from rear-ending the guy in front of you.
“The signal changes, everybody starts to flow and the traffic
clears out. Except the ones that did not get stopped in time. The
second time this happened to me,” Dave said, “I was not going to
stop in time, swerved to the right shoulder and came to a stop next
to the car in front of me. The car behind me came to a stop behind
the car in front of me, where I should have been. I heard a
screeching sound and looked in my rear view mirror in time to see
the off-ramp sign fall backwards with a car on top of it. My quick
action saved the three of us from being in an accident.”
State troopers and tow trucks were on the scene when he came
back the other way, he said.
“Over the last year, I have had this happen to me three times
and have witnessed three other occurrences,” Dave says. “It always
happens in the afternoons, between 3 and 5 p.m., coinciding with
the Bangor commute that starts at 3 and lots of traffic is flowing
out of both the Trident and Trigger avenue gates heading south in
the outside lane.
“What is the purpose of this wall? Normally these walls are
built for sound dampening when the freeway backs up to a housing
development. But in this case there is no housing, just a ball
field. The sharp turn with a wall blocks the driver’s sight line
from seeing the traffic back up.
“Has the state patrol starting noticing this trend at this
“Maybe a warning sign, ‘Traffic can backup suddenly.'”
The out basket: It is a noise wall, designed to reduce roadway
noise from reaching the play field behind it, says Claudia Bingham
Baker of the state highway department. She says she’s unaware of
any plans to modify it.
State Trooper Russ Winger says, “We have not observed abnormally
high collision numbers in this area. Collisions do occur there but
many of those occur at the right turn yield sign (at the top of the
“We have had collisions occur in the straight section on SR3
when traffics backs up during heavy volumes and anywhere in
between up to the intersection. The bulk of these collisions – rear
end type – are usually attributed to A) following too
closely. B) speed too fast for conditions. C) driver
“I am not so sure it is a sight distance problem rather than a
driver awareness problem. Traffic can and does back up here during
peak traffic times and I’m sure there are plenty of close calls
that go unnoticed but it does not appear to be greatly different
than other congested urban sections in Kitsap County.
“We have a fairly high collision rate on SR303 at the various
intersections between Riddell and Fairgrounds roads. These are
straight roadways with long sight distances. Many of the collisions
are also rear-end collisions with some intersection collisions.
Again, the various contributing factors noted above are the causing
factors, along with running signal lights.”