Cliffs between Bremerton and Gorst to be stabilized

The in basket: Years ago, so long that I have no record of who it was, someone asked about the stability of the rock cliffs overlooking Highway 3 between Gorst and Bremerton. 

I never addressed the issue, but when Kevin Dayton, regional administrator for the Olympic Region of state highways, spoke to the Port Orchard Rotary in December, he told them that work is coming to make sure two spots along those cliffs stay put. 

He told me it’s difficult to see where from the four-lane highway beneath the cliffs, but the two locations can be spotted from across Sinclair Inlet. 

Doubting my ability to tell a questionable rock face from a solid one, I haven’t tried to identify them, but I asked for information about what the work will mean to drivers. 

The out basket: Steve Howell, from the state’s geology engineers, said the two spots are approximately 7/10s of a mile and 1.1 miles from the Highway 304 interchange as one travels toward Gorst. They are each about a tenth of a mile long. 

“These slopes  will be stabilized utilizing slope scaling, rock bolting and the installation of wiremesh/cablenet slope protection,” he said.  “Lane closures will be required for this work but no decision has been made as it relates to day or night work.”  

The slopes are included in the Unstable Slope Mitigation Program because they meet the current criteria of having a numerical rating of 350-plus on a scale that goes up to  891 and rates the impact of a slope failure. 

I guessed that the fact there is virtually no detour whenever that stretch of Highway 3 is blocked played a key role in landing it on the list of slopes in need of work, but Steve said that’s only partially correct. Available detours is just one of 10 risk factors used in rating slopes. 

I also asked if something had just moved those two spots up over 350 on the rating scale, and again he said no, they weren’t evaluated until 2006 or 2007 and placed on the list at all until 2008. 

Kevin Dayton said the work may be bid as early at next July, but the department’s schedule says only that the work is set for the 2011-13 biennium 







2 thoughts on “Cliffs between Bremerton and Gorst to be stabilized

  1. Just curious… aren’t these supposed to be “feeder bluffs”, vitally important to the survival of salmon, and orcas, and polar bears, and everything good int he world? How can the Dept. of Ecology stand by and allow the highway folks destroy Puget Sound by “stabilizing” these cliffs? Where’s Jay Manning? Where’s Chris Gregoir? Where’s Al Gore?

  2. As someone involved in emergency management I have voiced my concern about that stretch of highway. It has proven to be a choke point for a variety of reasons.

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