$4 million to restripe 3-304 merge?

The in basket: I read that money has been set aside to modify the merge where highways 3 and 304 meet west of Bremerton, described in news stories as restriping to allow both lanes of Highway 3 to flow through and eliminate the merge into a single lane that now backs traffic up past theta Loxie Eagans interchange during rush hour.

The stories say it will cost about $4 million. I asked how on earth they could spend that much on restriping.

The out basket: Claudia Bingham-Baker, spokeswoman for the Olympic Region of state highway, replied, “The work at the SR 3/SR 304 merge will be much more than just a restripe. The project will do some widening and ramp reconstruction to change the configuration of the interchange.

“When the work is complete, the two southbound SR 3 lanes will continue through the interchange (where now they narrow to one lane), and SR 304 traffic will merge onto SR 3.

“This project’s goal will be to relieve peak-hour congestion. The current timeline of this $4.2 million project is design from 2015 to 2017; construction from 2017 through 2018.”

So much for my advocacy of eliminating the signs directing Highway 3 traffic to merge left early and adding signage encouraging the “zipper’ move of cars alternating at the actual merge point. With both lanes going through, there no longer will be a need for that. The state is unlikely to introduce such a change for the three years the existing merge will continue.

3 thoughts on “$4 million to restripe 3-304 merge?

  1. People need to get their heads screwed on straight and navigate the existing interchange properly! Even when there is virtually no traffic, as soon as the lanes merge into the one the lead car almost always hammers their brakes for no reason and slows to ~30 mph going under the overpass. No traffic in sight, nothing in the road, completely safe to maintain the speed limit of 50 through there.

    Then of course they camp in the left lane all the way to and through Gorst and then at the last minute before they continue on the left to Port Orchard they make a dangerous lane change to the right without ever using their signal or checking their blind spot. Then back to camping in the left lane again…

    I see so many people on their phones, fiddling with their radio, putting on makeup, and a few weeks ago I saw a lady reading a novel! Just put down all the distractions, and pay attention to your driving. Maintain the speed limit where it’s safe, stay on the right except to pass, don’t pull out in front of other people, watch for pedestrians and cyclists, etc. It’s not that difficult.

  2. Amazing, that they are FINALLY going to make it what it SHOULD have been all along! Such a stupid configuration there, that causes driver angst every single day. And for no reason. Of course, it’s going to cause an issue for those getting on from 304, when they have to merge in. Probably will back up traffic all the way into the base and beyond when the base workers all leave in the afternoon. Should be fun, watching that mess!

  3. It is funny when roads are designed by engineers to function in a certain expected way and drivers act in a way the engineers did not plan for. The zipper move is effective if drivers really payed attention and cared. Most do not pay attention and they mostly care about being in front of the pack. I had an engineer tell me years ago he could not design for “stupid”. Actually he used a few other choice descriptions too, but you get the idea. The best laid plans by science or engineers fall apart when faced with actual human behavior. As for the new stripping, it may help keep traffic from Silverdale flowing, but I feel sorry for those leaving Bremerton. Wait, never mind, Bremerton is changing and will have most people walking or biking in the future so then little traffic will actually leave Bremerton, so this does make more sense in the long run.

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