Showdown on Higbee Road

The in basket: I was interested to read Ed Friedrich’s front page story the other day regarding uncertainty about what jurisdiction is responsible for the condition of the short road leading from Austin Drive to Naval Hospital Bremerton, described as “crumbling.”.

It’s called Higbee Road and, Ed reported, it was expected the city would take responsibility for it after it was built, probably when the hospital was built back in 1980. But that expectation was never finalized and Higbee probably has had no maintenance in 35 years.

The city is struggling to deal with deteriorating streets all over within its sprawling limits, which extend all the way out to West Belfair Valley Road leading out of Gorst. The last thing it needs is to take on the rehabilitation of Higbee, which appears to be in better condition than, say, Veldee Avenue, subject of another reader’s complaint that may be the topic of a later column. The city hopes the Navy can get it federal funds to do Higbee.

The out basket: I don’t really have anything to add to this, except an anecdote from probably two years ago. A reader whose name I can’t find or recall now asked me to look at Higbee. His or her complaint at the time was limited to the faint and worn paint striping.

I visited the road then, and again this week and I can’t say that it’s obviously “crumbling.” The paint certainly could use attention though.

But it was my previous visit  that is memorable.

There is an apartment complex also served by Higbee, but once you get past the entrance to it, you’re pretty much committed to going to the hospital gate or doing a U-turn in tight space in moderately heavy traffic.

It evidently had been more than a decade since I had been to the hospital, when I attended some news event there and had just driven in. I was surprised to find its entrance as heavily guarded as those to the shipyard and submarine base.

I blithely drove up and told the guard who I was and what I was trying to find. It must have struck him as unlikely, and I couldn’t have gotten a hairier eyeballing if I were dark- complected and wearing a bandolier over my shoulders.

After some time in which another guard took my name and some other information,  looked at my driver’s license and noted the license number of my car, I was permitted to use a turnaround inside the gate and escape – unshot.

Higbee was well-marked this week on a street sign, and my reader may not have given me the right street name, as the gate guards were little help in directing me to it and I wound up driving around Jackson Park without finding whatever it was I told them I wanted to write about. I think I concluded that it was the road into the hospital, and I fled the scene, lest I wound up at some other entrance with leery armed guards. I filed the day’s event away in case it ever became convenient to write about it – like now.

One thought on “Showdown on Higbee Road

  1. I don’t see the mayor struggling to maintain any streets in Bremerton, unless making them smaller to restrict traffic flow is making them better. I know Dino Davis commented in the Sun he didn’t see any reason to make commuting to/from Bremerton easier.

Leave a Reply

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

Before you post, please complete the prompt below.

Enter the word yellow here: