Tag Archives: Southworth Drive

Readers worry about dangerous trees and limbs

The in basket: Al and/or Barb Johnson and Clint Newell have asked about trees and limbs they think pose a hazard to drivers in a couple of places in South Kitsap and Bremerton.

“Traveling east on Mile Hill Drive past Colchester,” the Johnsons say, “there are several large limbs over the road forming an impressive archway. It looks like a potential danger if we get heavy snowfall or high winds. Why would these not be trimmed back?”

Clint sees a similar danger on Almira Drive in Bremerton.

“For years I have been very concerned about three trees at the intersection of Almira Drive and Clemens,” he said. “They lean completely over Almira Drive on a 35-40 degree angle. Three or four years ago, the city painted a big X on all three, and I assumed they would be taken down. On rainy or windy days, my wife and I avoid that street, fearing for our safety.”

The out basket: The Mile Hill Drive site does look dangerous should one or more of the large limbs snap and fall on passing traffic. There probably a lot of places in the county as bad, though.

The Almira Drive location is more impressive, as the trees actually are permanently bent at the base and lean outward precipitously. It’s surprising they’ve stood for the three or four years Clint describes.

A bigger surprise: Those trees aren’t as scary as they look, says Bremerton city street engineer Jerry Hauth. “The trees in question have been examined by an arborist and determined not to be an imminent threat. So they aren’t an issue at the present.”

He included an excerpt from the city ordinances that says dangerous trees are among the things property owners are responsible for rectifying, but added, “If it’s property we own (and there are several parcels that have been given to us) or a street end (S. Cambrian @ Coontz, for example), I send it to Public Works.

“We also have the street crew do work in places that isn’t sensible for the adjacent property owners to do it, for example, along 11th street east of Highland north of the west end of the Manette Bridge, and the separation area between upper and lower Shore Drive.”

Doug Bear of Kitsap County Public Works says of the canopy just past Colchester Drive (I think the main road becomes Southworth Drive, no longer Mile Hill Drive, at that spot), “We are aware of this location and monitor the area as a priority during storms. We do have policy that addresses danger trees, as well as roadside vegetation management, but no specific policy regarding overhead canopies.

“There are other locations in the county with similar canopies over the roadway. With the number of trees in Kitsap County the chance of limbs being blown down during a storm is a concern in all locations, including those with overhead canopies.”


Snow, the bridge detour and the Sedgwick hill

The in basket: I was talking with Roger Wiley at the recent all-’60s-classes South Kitsap High School reunion and he asked a question I imagine was asked by interested parties during public meetings leading up to the South Colby bridge closure. But I hadn’t heard it before and didn’t know the answer.

With all Southworth Drive traffic routed to Sedgwick Road for the months the road is closed for replacement of the bridge, how can people expect to get up or down the steep hill on Sedgwick just east of Locker Road in a snowstorm. That’s where nearly all of the detoured traffic will get onto or off of Sedgwick, using the prescribed detour.

The out basket: Kitsap County has made one adjustment to its normal snow removal plan in recognition of the detour, says Doug Bear of its public works department.

It has added Lake Valley Road between Sedgwick and Long Lake to its list of priority plowing routes. A lot of savvy drivers probably have used a “flat-land” detour in past snows to get around that hill. It skirts the problem via Lake Valley, Long Lake, Mullenix, Olalla Valley and Banner roads, or in reverse order coming from the east.

“(The state), the ferry system, SK Fire & Rescue, South Kitsap schools, Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office and the United States Postal Service are all aware of this project,” Doug said. “Both Locker Road and SE Southworth Drive are primary routes in our snow and ice plan. SR 160 is a primary route for the state, and usually receives prompt attention during snow and ice events.

“We are actively working with (the state) to develop inclement weather contingencies for SR 160, up to and including assistance in treating and plowing that stretch of the highway between Locker and Banner.”

The county doesn’t usually divert any of its plows to a state highway during snow, so that is another  departure from past practice and will be done at just the one location for the duration of the bridge project.

They won’t sign the route that goes out to Mullenix during a snow, as they haven’t the past, but will rely on drivers to figure it out.”We don’t have any official ‘snow’ routes posted,” Doug said. “Rather we use the priority and secondary route approach as outlined in our snow and ice removal policy.” You can see that at http://www.kitsapgov.com/pw/snowplow.htm and it’s a good resource to understand what to expect of the county when it snows, irrespective of the detour and Sedgwick Hill.

Tidying up inquiries on South Colby bridge job

The in basket: A commenter going by Verdann on the Road Warrior blog at kitsapsun.com is among some readers who read the entry saying the South Colby bridge being replaced will be done by December and wondered why the static signs posted just before Southworth Drive is closed say March.

And The Judybaker, my wife, said she had wrongly concluded that the job was done already because the being electronic message board on Mile Hill Drive near Baby Doll Road had been removed.

The out basket: Doug Bear of Kitsap County Public Works, which has contracted the job, says, “The project contract runs through December, and we expect the project will be completed by then.

“(But) because major components of the project are scheduled during the fall when inclement weather can delay and postpone work, we’ve asked for an additional window of time to allow for weather-related delays. This allows delayed work to be rescheduled without further resolution from the Board of County Commissioners.

“The bridge will be opened to traffic as soon as the work is completed,” Doug said.

As for removal of the electronic sign, he said, it “was intended to be placed for a limited time.  It helps increase awareness for regular commuters that the project is starting.

“We have a limited number of these types of signs and use them for road projects throughout the county, and move them frequently. There are signs near the project site routing infrequent users to detour routes.”