Belfair highway work raises questions

 

The in basket: Byron McKenzie of Allyn and Martha Washington have questions about the continuing road work in Belfair.

Byron writes, “North Mason residents have lived with the Highway 3 widening project in Belfair for over four years. The utility work has been completed and now  the road construction has been in work since early last year.

“However, in the last two months nothing is being done. Is the contractor on strike? Have they run out of funds? Are they on schedule and budget? Is the contractor having problems or is he inexperienced? What is the status of this project? This heavily traveled corridor is a real mess.”

Asks Martha, “Is the speed limit reduction temporary?  Back in December, signs for a 25 mph speed limit through the Belfair construction zone started popping up.  So far they mostly seem to be ignored. I was assuming it was a safety issue due to the jersey barriers on the shoulder in some places and the speed limit would go back up to 35 mph once the widening project is done.  Can your contacts confirm this?”

The out basket: Claudia Bingham-Baker, spokeswoman for the state highway department, replies, “Construction on this WSDOT project began in mid-July, 2015. Work previous to that was done by the Belfair water utility in preparation for our project.

“The contractor on our project was initially restricted to working between Belfair Elementary and a retention pond just north of Romance Hill Road.  We are now allowing the contractor to work north of there to build a third retention pond. Over the next month, we expect the contractor to complete work on nine new retaining walls and continue work on the three ponds.

“Wet weather has slowed the work on the retention ponds. To facilitate the work, we are using (large metal) tanks to help manage the high ground water levels at the site before construction begins on drainage installation and highway widening.”

I had driven through Belfair and noticed that all the striping seemed normal, even over the obvious pavement patches.

“Recently we did refresh the roadway striping through the area,” Claudia explained, “not as final striping but interim striping to help motorists navigate better through the area.  The construction signs and jersey barrier are needed for the retaining wall work.

“The project web page is located here:  http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/SR3/BelfairImprovements/

That site says, “WSDOT has lowered the current 35 mph speed limit to 25 miles because of construction. The speed limit has been temporarily reduced between mileposts 25.3 and 26.6, which is the area near Belfair Elementary School and Northeast Clifton Lane. The reduced speed limit will continue until spring 2016.

  • WSDOT contractor, Ceccanti, has crews building stormwater ponds, walls, and a new stream crossing at Romance Hill Road.
  • This widening project will extend the center turn lane and provide paved shoulders and sidewalks on both sides of SR 3. The improvements are intended to be built in two separate stages.
  • Stage 1 of the project will begin at milepost 25.36 (just south of Belfair Elementary School and Theler Center) to milepost 27.08 (Ridge Point Blvd.).

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