Has Highway 303 center barrier paid off?

The in basket: The uproar over the new single point urban interchange, as it’s called, in Silverdale, has been so intense it has even surpassed reader and driver anger over the center barrier the state had built on Highway 303 from south of McWilliams Road to north of Fairgrounds Road a few years ago. I wondered if accident patterns since its construction have justified its construction.


The in basket: The uproar over the new single point urban interchange, as it’s called, in Silverdale, has been so intense it has even surpassed reader and driver anger over the center barrier the state had built on Highway 303 from south of McWilliams Road to north of Fairgrounds Road a few years ago. I haven’t gotten a complaint about that barrier for a while, and wondered if accident patterns since its construction have justified its construction.
The out basket: Steve Bennett of the Olympic Region’s highway engineers for the state says, “Since the completion of the project, overall collisions have gone up slightly, but serious injury collisions have gone down substantially. 
“Before the project, (the area of the barrier) averaged 52 collisions a year and had 2.4 serious injury collisions a year. After the project, (it) averaged 60 collisions a year and had 0.4 serious injury collisions a year,” he said. A serious collision is defined as one that is disabling in some way to a person, a decision made on the spot by the investigating officer.  Presumably, a reduction in left-turn, T-bone accidents is the main reason.

2 thoughts on “Has Highway 303 center barrier paid off?

  1. WOWEEE, the price of construction, the loss of a lane, more backups, the inability to be flexible in development in that mile of road, and an ugly median besides.
    I am sure glad collisions are UP by 8, but we saved 2 serious injuries…..kudos. that is probably about a million dollars a broken leg.

  2. I have never responded to any articles before today, but I have to
    say that I enjoy reading your section of the newspaper.
    I have to give my opinion about barriers on Highway 303, especially
    near the Nels Nelson interchange. If anyone has a complaint about
    it should think back to March 23, 2001, a day that I will never, ever
    forget. I know if that barrier were there, it may have saved a 21-year-old’s life and I would not have a lifelong disability in my ankle.
    I cannot even begin to tell you what my daughter went through and
    still wonder to this day how she is not paralyzed.
    I want to understand why the barrier wasn’t put there from the
    beginning?? Do highway engineers think about “what could happen”
    before serious fatality and collisions? What did it take for them to
    finally put it there? A red flag to me is the speed limit . The speed (coming
    from Bremerton) increases before a blind corner going up a hill with
    oncoming traffic turning into Nels Nelson??
    People that drive this highway should not think about the ease of
    convenience by a turn into high speed traffic over safety. You
    cannot predict other people’s driving and/or speed no matter how safe you
    know you are.
    So everyday when I drive home on Highway 303, I am thankful
    those barriers are there– but have anger inside that they should
    have always been there.

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