Tag Archives: street lights

Three Highway 305 intersections to be lit

The in basket: Andrew MacMillen asks, “Any idea what the electrical service boxes are for that have been added at the intersections of Johnson, Noll, and Seminole with Highway 305 in Lemolo?

The out basket: Claudia Bingham-Baker of the Olympic Region of state highways says those intersections will be getting street lights for the first time and Andrew is seeing the service cabinets for the lights.
“The effort is a good example of inter-agency cooperation,” she added. “The intersections are geographically located within the county but within (Poulsbo’s) urban growth area. The city is paying for the improvements, and WSDOT will own, operate and maintain the lights.” The city’s Web site said the county helped pay for the design.

“This area was chosen because of pedestrian traffic, transit stops, etc. near those intersections,” she said.

She said the contractor is waiting for delivery of the poles to complete the job, an all-too-familiar aspect of street light and traffic signal installations.


Who’s supposed to deal with dark street lights?


The in basket: James Zamudio wrote in November to say the street light on the Burley/Olalla entrance on Highway 16 going towards Port Orchard had been out for over six months.

I also have heard from a reader or two over a couple of years about a street light on Highway 3 at Lake Flora Road being out.

Over the years I’ve been doing Road Warrior, I have never understood the relationship between governments and power companies regarding darkened street lights, or navigational lights on bridges, and who is responsible for dealing with them. I asked Claudia Bingham Baker of the state Department of Transportation about it.

The out basket: “We work on a courtesy basis with other jurisdictions.” Claudia said, “in that if we notice their luminaires are out, we will contact them to let them know. “That is the case with the Lake Flora luminaire, which is not in our jurisdiction. Our signal folks will try to determine who maintains that luminaire and let them know it needs maintenance.

“The Burley Olalla luminaire should be within our jurisdiction, and a signal maintenance crew will be sent to the site to relamp the luminaire.

“We perform preventive maintenance on the electrical service to each highway luminaire every year, during which we turn the lamps on to verify they are working. “Every four years we relamp all luminaires as part of our ongoing highway maintenance.  If a lamp goes out in-between electrical maintenance service, we may not notice for a while and appreciate it when motorists let us know.”

I guess the Road Warrior served that purpose in September when I told Claudia that the street lights along a good stretch of the old Tacoma Narrows Bridge were out in the westbound direction, and might have been for weeks. She thanked me, said they had been unaware of the problem and would fix it.

Order street lights early and store them, if needed, says reader

The in basket: When Jeff Griswold read the earlier Road Warrior about the delay in getting needed street light equipment for the new Silverdale-Chico-Newberry roundabout, (and similar experiences by various jurisdictions on that kind of project), he succinctly wrote, “when a project starts, order them and if they get delivered early…. store them somewhere.  I am sure there is a place things like that can sit until needed.”

I told the county that was my reaction too when they said the equipment was ordered on time but the manufacturer didn’t deliver it on time.

I also see by way of a front page story this week that late delivery of a signal pole is responsible for delay in the city of Bremerton’s Warren Avenue work.

The out basket: Tina Nelson, senior program manager for Kitsap County Public Works, called Jeff’s suggestion ‘”a very reasonable idea,” and one that is used, but there can be issues with warranties when items are sitting in a yard somewhere.

She also said the early completion of the rest of the Silverdale project exaggerated the apparent length of the delay.

“A consideration is made on every project,” she said, “as to how we are going to deal with long lead items.  Purchase ahead, set up contract with lead time, suspend the project for material purchase, and more. Every solution has its own pros and cons.

“On the roundabout, we had the poles, (but) the arms were delayed.  All materials were ordered in time with a shipping date provided to the contractor acceptable to the meet the project schedule. This was never seen as an issue, until the contractor was able to get the paving done ahead of schedule, and the streetlight arms were delayed at the last minute. The benefit of the early paving to the quality of the project, and leaving out the potential delay for weather, was huge, but not one that is easily communicated to and understood by the public.  They see what they see, which is how it works.”


Another project gets late street lights

The in basket: When I read that delivery of the street light equipment for the new Silverdale roundabout had been delayed by a couple of weeks, it sounded familiar. It seems that a variety of traffic signal and roundabout projects in various jurisdictions have suffered from late delivery of the illumination gear over the years. I asked Kitsap County Public Works if there is some inherit difficulty that keeps jurisdictions from ordering them on time.

The out basket: Doug Bear of public works replied, “The streetlights are ordered in time, and the manufacturer assures us they can meet the delivery date. Then they are unable to do so and adjust it. It is a problem shared with many other jurisdictions, and I’m not sure what we can do differently to ensure delivery as the manufacturer promises.”

It sounds like there needs to be more competition in producing street light and traffic signal supports.


Narrows Bridge street lights have been out

The in basket: I noticed on the evening of Dec. 5 that the street lights on the north side of the old Tacoma Narrows Bridge were all out. Those on the south side and on both sides of the new bridge were all burning.

It was the same on Dec. 18. I asked if the reason was interesting.

The out basket: It turns out the state is paying $1.9 million to install new electrical components and make upgrades to the old bridge to match the new one. The job is to be complete in December, so it must be nearly finished. It required no disruption to traffic.

“This project is replacing the high voltage system on the bridge and portions of the

system had to be disconnected at times to stage the work,” said Don Anders of the regional signal shop. I don’t know if it was continuous or I just happened across the bridge on two nights the street lights were doused.

I hadn’t thought of a bridge as having high electrical demand, so I asked what besides the street lights and elevators to the tops of the two towers use juice.

“There are the navigation lights and aviation lights,” said Chris Keegan, the regional bridge expert for the state. “There is also a fog horn that requires electricity. The towers also have lighting on each level,” he said. The work will reduce maintenance and operation costs in the future, he added.

Updating Silverdale’s newest street, Greaves Way

The in basket: Patricia Evans and Peter Wimmer have commented on the still-to-open Greaves Way that soon will link Old Frontier Road and the Silverdale interchange where highways 3 and 303 meet.

Patricia says she travels Old  Frontier Road to Bangor every day and has her doubts about the new left turn created where Old Frontier and Greaves Way meet.

“When making a left turn after stopping at the new stop sign, a person is not able to make the complete turn without going onto the double yellow line toward the oncoming traffic,” she asserts .”It is a very tight turn even with my GEO.”

She doesn’t think a large truck or a school bus can make the turn without breaking the law.

Peter wonders why the county leaves what he considers the overly fancy street lights  on all night when no traffic is allowed on the road yet.

“I can understand the need for some lighting, but really isn’t that a bit much?” he wrote. “And a bit fancy? How about fixing ones that are not lit before they light  up an unopened stretch of road?  Are we not trying to save money in the budget?”

The out basket: I’m glad they asked, as it’s about time for an update on Greaves Way, which was days from its Nov. 16 ribbon cutting when it was all put on hold.

The reason, Project Manager Jacques Dean tells me, was that the cross-arm on one of the supports for the new traffic signal at Greaves and the realigned Clear Creek Road arrived bent. 

The company that provided it took it back, cut it, welded it and galvanized it. It was brought back Monday and installed, he said..

If the light was the only problem, the road might open next week. But some of the roadway has settled up at the top of Greaves’ hill, Jacques said. The contractor is trying to diagnose the problem.

Silver lining-wise, the postponement Nov. 16 is a good thing, or they’d be dealing with the pavement problem with traffic passing by. 

Whatever they learn, and whenever the road opens, the ribbon cutting won’t be until after the first of the year, he said.

As for Patricia’s concern, I told Jacques it does seem like a tight turn, even in a  passenger car. Another car sitting in the left turn pocket waiting to go east on Greaves (when it’s open) could present a long vehicle turning across its path with problems.

He looked at it Tuesday and says it follows the design, which meets turning radius criteria. A truck or motor home driver who pulls into the intersection before starting his turn won’t have problems, he said. 

The stop sign that halts traffic before making that left turn to continue on to Bangor will be removed. Southbound Old Frontier will become the stop street then and northbound Old Frontier and Greaves will appear to be one street.

Jacques said he hadn’t considered the possibility of disconnecting the street lights until the road opens. They are activated by darkness, but all of them can be disconnected at just two spots. He’ll look into whether labor or permitting issues to unhook them and then hook them up again would offset any savings from letting them come on at night until the road is open, he said.

As for whether the lights are too fancy, Jacques said, “This project can be considered one of the ‘gateways’ into Silverdale.  It will be a significant area of growth in the future and the county and community wanted it to be aesthetically pleasing, thus the ornate light standards, boulevard design, and extensive landscaping. 

“The light standards that were chosen are actually cheaper to purchase and install, including to maintain and replace, than standard light poles and luminaires,” he said,. “The number of light poles is based on standard parameters for a four-lane roadway and necessary disbursement of light.”

Street lights shutting off on green light

The in basket: Jenny Burke of Silverdale reported something very odd about the intersection of Silverdale Way and Randall Way at the north end of Silverdale.

Three times in a couple of months, she was stopped at a red light heading north on Silverdale Way at night. When the light changed to green, all the street lights at the intersection went out, she said. 

I asked if she looked back after proceeding to see if they had come back on, but she hadn’t.

I was stumped by how such a thing could happen. 

The out basket: Jeff Shea, traffic engineer for Kitsap County Public Works, said the most likely explanation is that headlights of cars starting up somehow caused the street light controller to think it was daylight.

“We’ve noted that the photo cell that turns the street lights on at night is positioned in a manner that traffic could impact it.,” he said. “We will be changing the position of the cell in the near future to preclude this from happening.”



One end of Hood Canal Bridge is unlighted

The in basket: Gil Berg lives at Bridgehaven, just south of Shine in Jefferson County and looks out at the Hood Canal Bridge. He asks why the entire bridge has street lights except for the last quarter mile before its Jefferson County end.
The out basket: Becky Logan, spokesman for the project to replace half the bridge, has this to say.
“Firstly, there are no laws which require lights on any bridges in Washington state.  According to the Design Manual on Illumination, “illumination is provided along highways, in parking lots, and at other facilities to enhance the visual perception of conditions or features that require additional motorist, cyclist, or pedestrian alertness during the hours of darkness.”
“Because of the barrier gates on the bridge, bridge lights are needed so motorists can see when the gates open and close,” she said. 
 “The first light on the east half of the bridge is 620 feet from the east truss,” meaning the steel structure that stretches from shore to the pontoons.  On the west half the first light is approximately 1,700 feet from the west truss.  The difference is because the west half of the bridge is longer than the east half, she said.  Therefore, the barrier gates are closer to the east truss, which is why the lights appear to begin sooner.” 
Chris Keegan, the Olympic Region bridge expert for the state, added that they don’t usually put lights on rural bridges.
“If you are driving in the dark and come across some lights, you have trouble seeing when you go back into the dark,” he said.
He said that the need for the bridge span operator to see cars approaching the barricades is another reason that this rural bridge has some lights.