Tag Archives: Tremont

Rights onto Tremont during detour analyzed

The in basket: It was irritating during the closure of Highway 166 for the Gorst culvert replacements to pull up to the red light on Port Orchard Boulevard, the designated detour, at Tremont Street and watch timid drivers wait to turn right onto Tremont’s inside lane  despite the presence of a perfectly good outside lane that would hold a few of them and allow those farther back in the line on the boulevard to pull forward.

Often the traffic was so heavy that even when the light turned red on Tremont and green on the boulevard, the backup from the next light ahead on Tremont, at Pottery, left no room for boulevard traffic to get into the through lane on Tremont. Once again, the outside lane, which can hold four or five vehicles and from which cars can merge into the inside lane when Tremont traffic began moving again, went largely unused.

I asked Port Orchard police whether there is anything illegal about using that outside lane, which ends a couple of hundred feet from the boulevard, as a merge or acceleration lane.

While I was at it, I asked if there is anything illegal about using deceleration lanes, such as those in front of Fred Myer on Sedgwick Road, to accelerate into eastbound Sedgwick traffic. There are right turn arrows on the pavement, but they don’t say “only.”

The out basket: Commander Dale Schuster of PO police says that not only is use of the outside lane on Tremont legal, as a matter of law, it’s required.

“Yes, the detour route via Port Orchard Boulevard was a mess during the culvert construction,” he said. “Thank God that part is over.

“Technically, when you turn right onto westbound Tremont Street from Port Orchard Boulevard you need to enter as far right towards the curb as possible which would obviously mean the closest lane. (RCW 46.61.290). In this case, it would be the acceleration lane you are referring to.

“You would then signal left and merge into the main lane of travel. Of course, you are relying on the courtesy of other drivers to let you in during heavy traffic. So, in short, it is perfectly legal to turn right in the acceleration lane then merge into traffic, or wait in the lane for an opening.

“Regarding your question on Sedgwick Road at Fred Meyer…I see no reason why someone exiting the Fred Meyer lot could not use that lane as an acceleration lane to merge into eastbound Sedgwick Road. Since there is no “island” there, the motorist would need to make sure he/she yields the right of way to someone in the deceleration lane already eastbound on Sedgwick Road. I am willing to bet most motorists exiting Fred Meyer are already using it as an acceleration lane.”

Bethel Road much smoother now

The in basket: I must have stayed away from Bethel Road in Port Orchard for a while because I was surprised to see that a major dig-out and patching operation had been completed, providing stretches of new asphalt where the roadway had been rough and cracking.

Some patches  stretched across the entire roadway and it continued on down to the roundabout at Highway 166. It’s a much smoother drive now.

I asked Port Orchard public works how that all meshes with the overall plans for the Bethel Corridor since the city annexed it. Though the plans didn’t extend past Lincoln Road when it was the county’s project. it’s all inside the city now. On the other end, the work stops just past Fred Meyer, which was its terminus under the county plan.

The out basket: Public Works Director Mark Dorsey says, “Upon annexation, getting the Bethel Road Corridor (SR 166 to just south of Fred Meyer) ‘drivable’ for the next 20 years was a city priority….split into 2 years.

“Last year we did (some) grind-out/repairs, plus a full overlay at Bethel/Lund (since this area does not change in the future.) This year we are finishing up the program with remaining grind-out/repairs.”

A city redesign of the overall corridor improvements is now scheduled for 2017-18, but enough money has been garnered finally to move ahead with the long-planned Tremont Avenue widening, which may absorb the city’s attention for a while.

“The actual Bethel Corridor reconstruction project is scheduled to commence right-of-way acquisition in 2025 and construction in 2027 (subject to change),” Mark said.  “We have a draft conceptual Corridor Plan prepared….but it has not been vetted.”

The Tremont project, the latest grant for which has just been approved in the amount of $1.7 million, is to be done by 2018. It will create roundabouts on Tremont at Pottery Avenue and South Kitsap Boulevard in place of traffic signals, widen Tremont to four lanes to Highway 16, and add underground utilities, pedestrian and bicycle accommodations, street lighting and landscaping.

Entering via a designed exit

The in basket: A Road Warrior column in April that questioned the legality of turning left across the double yellow lines on Lund Avenue/Tremont Street in Port Orchard into the shopping area that includes Auto Zone brought a response from Robert Martin, who noted that the exact same alignment exists across that street at the Puerto Vallarta restaurant.

Drivers turn left across the double yellow lines going in both directions, where they meet a right-in-right-out alignment that makes it easier to turn into the half of that alignment intended for cars that are leaving.

Is that legal, he wondered.

The out basket: I wrote at the time that left turns are legal across double yellow lines unless there is a raised barrier, a yellow line 18 inches wide or wider, cross-hatching between the lines, or signs saying No Left Turn. None of those thing exist in either direction at that spot on the street. The turns, though often difficult and risky, are legal.

I wasn’t able to learn then whether turning into a roadside access designed to be an exit constitutes a traffic infraction.

So I asked again.

Commander Dale Schuster of Port Orchard police replied, “Both of these access driveways are on private property so there is no traffic violation, hence no infraction.”

The answer would be different where the access is publicly owned, which  is hard to determine when in motion. So those who do it risk a ticket in some locations, just not those two.

Watch for highway paving here over the next month

The in basket: Orange “Road Work Ahead” and “End of Road Work”  signs have sprouted on Highway 3 between Gorst and Highway 304 at Bremerton, and from Silverdale north, and around the Tremont/Old Clifton Road interchange on Highway 16.

I asked what will be done.

The out basket: Project Engineer Mary Lou Nebergall said drivers have been encountering nighttime lane closures in those areas this week, in preparation for repaving to begin Monday.

The westbound ramps at Tremont will be repaved, and the outside lane of Highway 16 from there to Gorst also will be.

All of Gorst will be repaved, and all four lanes between Gorst and Highway 304 will get new asphalt as well.

Two years ago, the outside northbound lane of Highway 3 from 304 to almost Anderson Hill Road in Silverdale was repaved. That work will resume in the outside lane from just south of Anderson Hill Road to the recently rebuilt 3-303 interchange, then pick back up around Trigger Avenue and continue to the Highway 308 interchange.

The state is doing more paving of just the outside lanes of  multi-lane highways to make the paving dollars go farther, Mary Lou said. Those lanes take more of a beating because that’s where large trucks must drive.

All work requiring closure of a lane will occur at night Mondays through Thursdays, she said. It will take more than a month before it’s all done, as the paving crews begin at Tremont and work their way north.

Arrow and Yield sign puzzle drivers at Tremont interchange

The in basket: Dave Dahlke and Katie Ruley has questions about the Tremont interchange on Highway 16 in Port Orchard.

Dave wonders what the arrow at the downhill end of the northbound Highway 16 off-ramp there is supposed to mean.

“I see left-  and right-turn arrows in center turn lanes,” he said. “I see left-turn arrows and right-turn arrows signifying what I believe to be only those turns allowed in other lanes. What  (is) the purpose of a straight-ahead white arrow on the pavement on the off-ramp from Highway 16 to Tremont? “Makes me wonder if any out-of-town drivers assume the only option is to drive straight ahead which puts them  back on Highway 16 via the on-ramp.”

Katie is perplexed by the position of the Yield sign that assigns right-of-way to left turners coming off Tremont to head toward Gorst on the freeway, over right turners using the same on-ramp.

“If I am waiting to turn left into oncoming traffic to enter the highway,” she said, “it would seem to me impossible that I would have the right of way, but yet people do! And now there is a yield sign? This makes no sense.”

The out basket: The white arrows on that off-ramp and many others, which I had never noticed until Dave asked, are designed to tell drivers what not to do, not what to do.

They are a visual cue to anyone who has turned from Tremont onto the off-ramp that they ARE GOING THE WRONG WAY!! It hopes to keep them out of the high speed highway traffic.

You’ll also see them on the mainline of Highway 16 near Haven of Rest Cemetery in Gig Harbor and in Gorst in front of Navy City Metals. Both are near places where drivers have a way to get headed the wrong way on a divided highway.

As for the Yield sign, I told Katie that a right turner  certainly doesn’t have to yield to a car that is waiting for traffic to clear to begin the left turn. But when the two traffic flows actually conflict, right of way must be assigned to one or the other.

In this and similar cases, says Steve Bennett, traffic operations engineer for the Olympic Region of state highways, giving the left turner the right of way “is more safe for all involved.

“The right turner is in a protected spot and can safely wait for the left turner to pass by. The left turner, if he has already begun his turn, may be blocking a lane if forced to wait for the right turner. This could cause traffic on the through road to make  sudden stops or swerve to avoid hitting the blocking vehicle.”

Tremont Street striping is all gone

 

The in basket: Gina Glynn wrote to say the stretch of Tremont Street between Sidney and Bethel avenues in Port Orchard is a scary place to drive because the lane striping is nearly gone. 

“Some time back the county (made)  patches in the asphalt (but) no striping has been done in the last several years and 

there are large stretches of the road where there is NONE to see,” she wrote. 

“Therefore, cars are all over the place because they can’t tell when they’re  encroaching into the other lane. I drive to work every morning and home each 

night and I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had to veer out of someone’s way because they’ve crossed over the lanes. 

“Add in darkness and rainy weather and it’s brutal. How does one go about getting the county to repaint the striping before there is a serious issue?” he asked.

The out basket: Such requests should be made to the Kitsap County Public Works’ Open Line at (360) 337-5777.

But Jeff Shea, traffic engineer with Kitsap County Public Works, says that stretch of road “was actually striped

twice last year, once at the beginning of the striping season, and again later in the year to prepare for winter.

“Disappearing road markings are something all road departments encounter during winter,” Jeff says. “The combination of sand and plowing causes lines to wear out, much like removing them with sandpaper. 

“This year, because of the extensive winter weather, the problem is more visible than in years past.

“The water-based paint we use to mark roads requires drier and warmer weather to apply,” he said. “If paint is applied now it will not set properly. We stripe roads, including

this one, as soon as weather permits and paint supplies arrive, usually beginning in May.”

“We are taking steps to help motorists next winter,” he said. “We plan to purchase a grinder this year …to recess pavement markers (reflective buttons) in the road. 

“Most of raised buttons are plowed up or destroyed during snow and ice maintenance,” he said. “Recessing them helps avoid that, and provides lane delineation during the winter months when painted markings disappear.” 

We already see recessed buttons on some county roads, but those have been done as part of a contracted job to accomplish something else. The new grinder  

will allow the county to recess the markers on its roads whether other work is being done or not.

Of arrows and “only” in Port Orchard

 

The in basket: Joe Blazevich of Manchester wonders about an arrow on the pavement of Mile Hill Drive seeming to route people into the Hi-Joy Bowl parking lot as eastbound drivers exit the roundabout there. Can a person legally pull over into that lane immediately to proceed straight, despite the arrow, he asked. 

The out basket: It’s not a question of much importance, but it led off in a couple of interesting directions. 

Port Orchard Police Chief Al Townsend says that the absence of the word “only” on either a sign or on the pavement at that point makes it legal to use of the lane for traveling straight.

The city recently changed the traffic restrictions on Tremont Street approaching Port Orchard Boulevard westbound to make it a right turn only onto the boulevard, except for buses. There’s no “only” on the pavement there either, but signs along the roadside impose the restriction, so a person going straight in the outside lane there is subject to a citation.

The word “only” will be added on the pavement when weather permits, says City Public Works Director Mark Dorsey.

The change was made, Mark told me, because the Lutheran church with an entrance just west of the boulevard has become a church school, creating possible hazards for children. 

Drivers commonly raced each other for the only available upcoming lane as the two lanes westbound merge to one at just that point. “We get a lot of road rage issues right after Port Orchard Boulevard,” Al said before the change was made.

Making them merge before the boulevard makes things safer at the church school entrance, he said.

Al also pointed out the situation at Bravo Terrace, the business area east of the Sedgwick interchange, which also is in the city. There, two lanes are available for three possible movements, left, right and straight. Arrows denote the lanes for left and right turns, but the right turn lane also is OK for going straight ahead, into the Columbia Bank parking lot. No signs or pavement markings say “only” there, allowing other movements, he said. Otherwise, there’d be no way to get to the bank.

A more common marking for such dual lanes around the state is an arrow that depicts both the turn and the straight-ahead movement. Mark said he’d give that spot a look to see if that should be done there.