Morning rush is maddening at SR3 and Sunnyslope Road

The in basket: Darwin Alm read a Dec. 7 article in this newspaper about a $40,000 grant to study how to reduce speeding deaths on the local highways and thinks he sees a much better use for the money.

“I live in Sunnyslope just off Highway 3!!” he wrote to Andy Binion, the reporter who wrote the story.  Andy forwarded Darwin’s e-mail to me.

“We have to enter Highway 3 early in the morning to work at the shipyard!!” Darwin continued. “Every morning we wait at that intersection for at least 10 to 15 minutes because of high traffic!! Trying to get on 3 is a joke; sometimes you just take a risk and go for it!!”

Darwin really likes exclamation points. I wonder if he shouts when he talks.

“If you have someone in front of you taking a left to go to Belfair,  you will have a very LONG wait !!!!!” he went on. “My question to you is why can’t you spend some of that 40 K to put in a stop light at that intersection before someone gets killed, especially a child, instead of spending it all just to study how many deaths we have a year over a cup of coffee!!!! Looking forward to hearing back about this matter before we read in the paper about another preventable death !!!”

The out basket: Grant money usually is pretty limited in what it can be spent for, and $40,000 doesn’t go far in adding a traffic signal at an intersection these days. Andy pointed out to Darwin that he just reports where money comes from and how it will be spent. He doesn’t have a say in the decision.

But there are funding sources for traffic signals and I asked Claudia Bingham-Baker of the state’s Olympic Region of highways where the Sunnyslope Road intersection with Highway 3 stands in qualifying for one. I also asked for an approximation of what signals cost these days.

“Improvements like traffic control signals are installed as funding allows,” she replied. “A dozen intersections on SR 3 between Shelton and Gorst have higher collision histories than the SR 3/Sunnyslope intersection, so typically signal funding would be allocated to one of the other signals first. Unfortunately, that means it could be a while before drivers see a signal there. I wish I had better news.

“Depending on bids,” she said in reply to my final question, “an average signal purchase and installation costs closer to $400,000.”

2 thoughts on “Morning rush is maddening at SR3 and Sunnyslope Road

  1. Such a shame because that intersection can be made a lot better without a traffic signal. Left turners are always going to have a hard time, but you can make it better for those turning right by making a long right turn lane and then a long merge lane where cars going right may not even have to stop.

    1. That would be a GREAT idea, Brian. I live in this area as well and just dread having to get on Hwy. 3 at this intersection. Luckily, I only have to do it during “off peak” hours. At any rate, that long right turn lane might be tough since it would take some doing at the intersection immediately before the turn onto the highway and I’m sure you’d have to take private property to construct it. But a long merge lane seems like it might work! Wish they’d do SOMETHING there. It’s so bad and scary. Especially turning towards Belfair. The folks coming up the hill are all drag racing one another to beat the lane reduction just up the hill. They’re always going crazy fast and you really take your life in your hands as you try to get into the mix. A bad wreck is on the way, no doubt.

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