Tag Archives: Gig Harbor

Olympic Interchange being fixed – again?

The in basket: The news release issued this week telling of a protracted repair project on the Olympic Interchange bridge on Highway 16 in Gig Harbor surprised me. I thought it had already been fixed. I recall seeing the exposed rebar after a reader asked me what happened, and lane closures for work that covered the damage.

The news release also said the state would be seeking compensation from the company responsible for the damage, but didn’t say how much it will cost, or if they know who hit it.

The out basket: What I was recalling was an earlier incident that damaged the bridge in 2011, says Claudia Bingham-Baker of the Olympic Region public affairs staff for the state Department of Transportation. That damage was repaired but the bridge was hit by an over-height load again last year.

This time, in addition to installing a new girder on the westbound half of the bridge, “to restore the integrity of the overpass,” the westbound lanes of SR 16 will be restriped to gain just over two inches of vertical clearance, and new overhead signs will be installed, she said. The westbound lanes are the ones heading toward Kitsap County.

The highway will be closed four nights with traffic detoured onto the off- and on-ramps, she said. The closures haven’t been scheduled.

They do know who hit it and the bill for the work, to last the rest of 2014, is estimated to be $1.4 million, she said.

All that work at Burnham Drive on Highway 16

The in basket: Jeff Paskett suggested when I encountered him at his South Park Rexall store that I probably could tell him what is going on at the Burnham Drive interchange on Highway 16 in Gig Harbor.

I had to tell him I couldn’t, but that I’d been wondering the same thing myself. 

The out basket: I went online and it didn’t take long to find a description of the $6.4 million project on the Web site of Gig Harbor Public Works, which is supervising the work. Woodworth & Co. is the contractor. It’s all largely being paid for by mitigation payments by developers in that area, notably the owners of St. Anthony’s Hospital.

According to the Web site, the main improvements will be: 

– Widening the state’s small roundabout on the west side of  Highway 16 (near Sehmel Drive) from one lane to two.

– Adding a “slip lane” from Canterwood Boulevard to the Highway 16 westbound on-ramp (to Bremerton), to let vehicles bypass the large roundabout and “slip” onto Highway 16 to Bremerton. St. Anthony’s is on Canterwood, so travel from the hospital to the freeway westbound will be easier. In picturing this, remember that the state insists that Highway 16 is an east-west highway because that’s the direction it runs on the Tacoma side of the Narrows. On the Kitsap Peninsula it runs north-south but the references still are to east and west.

– Adding a slip lane from the Highway 16 westbound off-ramp to Burnham Drive, which will allow vehicles to exit westbound Highway 16, bypass the large roundabout and slip onto Burnham Drive.

– Adding another lane to both Highway 16 off-ramps that exit from Tacoma and exit from Bremerton. That’s the reason to go to two lanes on the west side roundabout.

The Web site doesn’t mention it, but the work also will widen both the east- and westbound on-ramps to two lanes at the roundabouts, but they will taper to a single lane entering the freeway, says Project Engineer Marcos McGraw

Work began in August, he said, and will take a year. They’re having to build some large walls to contain the construction. 

The Web site includes a drawing of the completed work. Go to www.cityofgigharbor.net/page.php?id=759 to take a look.