Tag Archives: Dickenson

Readers question need for, lighting of Lake Flora roundabout

The in basket: There is some skepticism about the need for a roundabout at the Lake Flora Road-JM Dickenson Road intersection in South Kitsap. It’s nearly complete and about to open.

This week, Larry Taylor of Bremerton e-mailed to say, “I thought this state was hurting for money. So why in the world would they build a roundabout at Lake Flora and Dickerson Road or any rural area for that matter.

“I used to travel that road very frequently, sometimes three or four times a week and never had a problem with the stop sign that was there,” Larry said. “Even if the economy was booming, I think it is a complete waste of the taxpayers money. I don’t think the words ‘save money’ (are) in the government’s vocabulary.”

Back in August, Ed Kalmbach, a commenter on the Road Warrior blog at kitsapsun.com asked, “How does the state and county determine that an intersection like Lake Flora and JM Dickenson requires alteration due to safety concerns. Do they have a formula or algorithm and if so what is the data for this intersection that determined a roundabout was required and the correct solution?”

Another e-mailer had a different concern. Sandy Gold wrote this month to say, “Is there any plan to put a light in the roundabout on Lake Flora? We live out beyond the roundabout, and have noticed how dark that corner is.

“Once the construction barrels are gone, it will be really easy to have folks running into the center of the roundabout, just like they used to run the stop sign.  If they crash in the roundabout there won’t be any way for traffic to get around,” Sandy said.

The out basket: It’s a Kitsap County project and County Engineer Jon Brand explains the reasoning:

“There were several factors that led to the decision to move forward with a roundabout in this location. The intersection was selected for improvements because of the accident history, traffic volumes and pavement condition.

“There were 16 collisions in this location between January 2003 and December 2007, seven of which involved injuries.  This is well above the countywide average.  A roundabout reduces the likelihood of rear-end accidents or motorists’ blowing through a stop sign.

“Transportation projects undertaken by public works design for 20 years in the future, in this case 2028,” Jon continued, adding that Lake Flora links highways 3 and 16, the South Kitsap Industrial Area, and the city of Port Orchard.

“Traffic volumes are expected to increase significantly in the future and they are distributed in a relatively equal manner,” he said. “This was a major factor in the decision to proceed with a roundabout instead of a stop-controlled intersection. A roundabout offers more traffic capacity and efficiency than a stop-controlled intersection, especially when the volumes are balanced.”

As for Sandy’s concern, lights are coming, says Doug Bear of

county public works, and their foundations are already there. There’ll be a street light on each of the three approaches to the roundabout and two inside it. They’ll be installed soon, he said.

Counting days for SK roundabout and bridge projects

The in basket: I drove past the new roundabout at Lake Flora and JM Dickenson roads in rural South Kitsap on Oct. 1, going past a sign as I did saying road work there will continue into November. It looked to me like it’s ready to handle traffic now.

I asked if it’s ahead of schedule.

While I was at it, I asked for an update on the South Colby bridge project and closure of Southworth Drive and prospects for its carrying into March.

The out basket: Jacques Dean, construction manager for Kitsap County Public Works, says, “Lake Flora is moving along well and should be completed in October, weather permitting.”

As for the bridge and its road closure, Jacque said, “The contractor there experienced some challenges excavating for channel widening due to excessive groundwater and working around the tides.

“That work is complete and they are moving into major bridge construction activities. Drilled shafts are complete and the cap, abutment wall and wing walls on the west side of the bridge are finished.

“The project is still scheduled to wrap up by the end of the year, weather permitting,” Jacque said.

Agitated driver wants update on Lake Flora roundabout

The in basket: Rich Farrell says he “recently I skidded 10,000 miles of rubber off a new set of tires and depreciated my brake lining life span by at least five years at the intersection of Lake Flora Road and Lake Flora/JM Dickenson….the famous T-intersection where many drivers will not come to a complete stop!!

“At one point in time there was a planned roundabout  proposed for the intersection,” Rich said. “Whatever happened? How many accidents will it take before such an animal is constructed? Does the country have a ‘death quota’ before acting on such? With the traffic increase of the area, it won’t take long before someone is either seriously injured or killed at the intersection.”

The out basket: I got the misimpression somewhere that the roundabout Rich asks about was under way. It isn’t but it soon will be.

Doug Bear, public works spokesman for the county, says work is to begin Aug. 8. The contract was on the county commissioners’ schedule for approval on July 25. A November completion is planned.

 

Updating new Lake Flora roundabout

 

The in basket: I was reviewing old Road Warrior columns and came across one from last year that suggested another roundabout might be on the drawing boards, where Lake Flora and JM Dickenson roads intersect in South Kitsap.

Debbie Buchholz had asked about the Lake Flora work that was done last July, and the county said phase 2 of the work might include a roundabout.

The out basket: There will, indeed, be a roundabout built at the Lake Flora/JM Dickenson road intersection, beginning this fall or next spring. 

Dick Dadisman of Kitsap County Public Works says the new rural roundabout “will have a single lane similar to the roundabout on Bethel Road in Port Orchard.  (Though, the Port Orchard roundabout was designed and constructed as a two-lane roundabout, but striped for a single lane).  

“Major differences between a rural roundabout and urban roundabout ,” he said, “are rural roundabouts lack the pedestrian improvements you would typically find in an urban setting; the truck apron is wider to allow larger trucks to negotiate the roundabout; and the approach legs are typically longer to allow sufficient distance for higher speed vehicles to safely decelerate as they approach the roundabout.” 

The roundabout will be just south of the intersection it will replace.

I asked if there are any other roundabouts planned on the county’s roads and Dick said, “Kitsap County has one other roundabout under consideration.  This one is located at the Newberry Hill/Silverdale Way/Chico Way intersection with construction planned for the summer of 2012.” 

Since he replied, County Commissioner Josh Brown made a pitch for a roundabout at Holly Road and Seabeck Highway in Central Kitsap, so that may be added to the list in the future.

Reader cries ‘Waste!’ in Lake Flora project

 

The in basket: Debra Buchholz of Port Orchard says, “I recently went on the county Web site to see what the road project is on Lake Flora Road. I see that they are planning on widening the lanes and shoulder…  

“I can see that this was probably planned when the (NASCAR) race track was in the laying,” she said. “I travel Lake Flora daily and am not sure why the county is wasting their money there. It is not used nearly enough to warrant spending money the county can surely use elsewhere.  

“In reading this project info, I found an even more concerning project for Lake Flora for 2010-11,” she continued. “They are putting a roundabout at the intersection of JM Dickenson and Lake Flora (roads). Why is a roundabout needed there?  

“Seriously does the county have that much money to waste?  Is this something that is truly needed with the economy the way it is? I wonder what the rest of Kitsap County would think if they knew how little this area really needs this?”

The out basket: Jon Brand, the county’s assistant public works director, replied directly to Debby and CCd to me:

“This project has a long history,” he said. “In 2002, Kitsap County obtained a $500,000 Rural Arterial Preservation (RAP) grant for (it).” The RAP funds come from the state’s portion of the fuel tax and  address traffic safety and preservation of rural arterial roads, he said. 

“Lake Flora Road was eligible because of the accident history and the condition of the asphalt. The project addresses safety by correcting segments of road where the alignment is sub-standard and providing paved shoulders to reduce the number of run-off-the-road accidents. Paved shoulders will reduce the number of accidents because errant vehicles will have more time to respond.”

I suggested to Jon that a gravel shoulder is more likely than a paved shoulder to alert a driver that he is leaving the roadway, and he said perhaps, if there was any certainty of a smooth transition from the asphalt to the gravel.

But “a drop off frequently forms at the asphalt edge which causes errant vehicles to lose control,” Jon said. “I agree that the gravel offers more of a warning but it’s likely to be a warning of impending disaster. Vehicles leaving the traveled way are less likely to crash if the shoulder is asphalt.   

“The down side is that paved shoulders often add to a driver’s comfort level and result in faster driving speeds,” he added.

Back to his reply to Debra, he wrote, “Lake Flora Road’s asphalt is in such poor condition that it’s not feasible to extend the pavement life by repairing and overlaying it. This was recognized by the state when the RAP grant was awarded.  

“This project was delayed for about 18 months during the NASCAR discussion,” Jon said.  “During the delay, (we) attempted to preserve the road by applying a slurry seal. 

“Had the track project moved forward, the traffic impacts would have been significant and the current project would have looked much different.  There’s no connection between the county’s current project and NASCAR.  

“Improvements to the intersection at JM Dickenson were not included in the original RAP project,” he said. “This intersection has been the site of several major accidents and a wide range of solutions have been discussed.  Our traffic engineers consider this as a good candidate for a rural roundabout.” But that decision hasn’t been made yet. 

“This project is not an example of government waste,” Jon concluded. “The county’s focus is on improving the safety and preserving the transportation infrastructure and we attempt to provide those improvements in a cost effective manner.”

It will cost a lot more than the $500,000 from RAP, though, but not as much as forecast in the county’s six-year road plan.

It predicted a $4.36 million price tag. The first phase, which began July 6, is a $1.04 million contract with RV Associates, and Jon says current estimates for the second phase say $845,000. Both are less than half what’s in the road plan, though engineering and right of way will add to the cost.