Lack of stop sign at Silverdale off-ramp questioned

The in basket: Sharon Clark expressed concern a few months back about the Yield sign that controls vehicles coming off southbound Highway 3 via the off-ramp to Highway 303 north of Silverdale.

“I experienced a close call when exiting southbound to Silverdale, making a right turn at the yield sign,” she said. “Surprise — there’s no merging lane with traffic that’s fast-moving along the the far right lane.

“To make things worse, the visibility is bad. Small cars are hard to see when they’ve picked up speed from the traffic light zone, and are close to the overpass wall.  “Don’t most motorists expect there to be a merge lane, when yielding onto a four-lane road, coming off a freeway?” she asked. “Why not a stop sign instead?”

The out basket: I sent Sharon the explanation for the alignment at that location that I got from Project Engineer Brenden Clarke back in October 2007 while the interchange still was under construction. And I promised I’d ask for accident figures there since the ramp opened.

Brenden said then, “The sign there is a yield sign, not a merge sign.

“Traffic coming from southbound SR3 to 303 should not be merging,” he said. “It is either a signal-controlled or yield condition. Traffic heading toward Bremerton is controlled by the new traffic signal. Traffic heading toward Clear Creek or the Mall should be looking at the traffic signal as they approach to give them guidance as to how to proceed.

“If it is green, they obviously have the right-of-way and if it is red, they should be abiding by the Yield sign that is in place on the ramp and looking at oncoming traffic before they proceed.”

They didn’t install a stop sign for the right-turn movement, he told me then, because that would require traffic to stop even when the light is green for that movement. “The result of a stop sign would be a drastic decrease to capacity.  The yield sign allows traffic to proceed unencumbered while the signal is green, but it does not allow a merge.

“An added acceleration lane would have been nice,” he added. “but we did not have enough right-of-way to accommodate the widening for the added lane.”

So, have there been a lot of accidents at that yield since the ramp opened?

Geneva Hawkins of the state’s Collision Data & Analysis office says there had been 20 accidents at that location between the ramp’s opening Nov. 29, 2007, and the end of June this year, the most recent figures available.

All 20 have been rear-end accidents, 15 on the off-ramp (ruled as the result of following to closely), the other five on Highway 303, called the result of inattention. They were distributed evenly, with seven in 2008, eight in 2009 and five the first half of this year.

Four people had injuries, none serious, three of them in a pair of crashes in 2008. There have been no fatalities.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Before you post, please complete the prompt below.

(Not a trick question) What color is the pink house?