Tag Archives: manchester

Ships lying off Manchester generate a question – again

The in basket: Goolsbee Snitworthy, a tongue-in-cheek pseudonym for a Manchester reader, e-mailed in February to say its time for me  to “put on your water wings and morph from the Road Warrior into the ‘Water Warrior.’   Perhaps you could do a short item exploring why bulk cargo ships are anchoring in Puget Sound in front of Manchester.

“Last winter it was container ships and this winter it is bulk cargo ships.   Last winter it was because of labor problems at the Port of Seattle.    I have not heard or read anything about labor problems this year.   So why are these ships anchoring where they are?”

The out basket: Lt. Dana Warr, public affairs officer for the 13th Coast Guard District, replies, “In consultation with the Puget Sound Pilots and Harbor Safety Committee, the Coast Guard recently changed the fall/winter anchoring procedures to shift vessels from the Smith Cover West anchorage and some from Tacoma to the Yukon Harbor anchorage (near Blake Island).

“This shift to an existing federal-regulated anchorage was for a variety of reasons.  The most important is the Coast Guard observed that vessels were dragging anchor due to less favorable bottom conditions in Smith Cove.  With the prevailing winds, the vessels tended to drag anchor towards jetties and land fall.

“To reduce the risk of grounding and subsequent potential environmental damage, the Coast Guard shifted the vessels to the more protected, better holding grounds in Yukon Harbor. The Yukon Harbor anchorage typically has (fewer) vessels anchored in the summer months.”

Smith Cove is the northern part of Elliott Bay in Seattle.


Container ships anchored off Manchester

IMGP2258The in basket: Chuck Hower of Harper, who for whimsical reasons goes by Goolsbee Snitworthy when he contacts me, asked me about three huge container ships lying off-shore near Manchester in South Kitsap, guessing the reason is “perhaps problems with the scheduling at the Port of Seattle?”

The out basket: An on-duty employee at the Puget Sound Vessel Traffic Service, said the service is making use of the infrequently used reserve anchorage area because of what is alleged to be a slowdown by longshoremen engaged in protracted labor negotiations with the Pacific Maritime Association.

The normal anchorage areas are full, he said.

The American Journal of Transportation quotes a longshoremen’s union spokesman as saying “allegations by the PMA that the union is engaged in a work slow down at West Coast ports is, in fact, the result of “frustration by workers with the long-standing contract and congestion problems.”

One of the three ships appears to have departed Friday afternoon

President Polk, meet President Taylor

The in basket: Patricia, who omitted her last name, e-mailed to say, “My son and I live in a rental on Taylor Street in Port Orchard. Half of the very short street is paved and maintained.  We live on the lower part of the street designated (from what I have been told) as a ‘private’ street and is not maintained.

“If you were to travel on our section you’d agree that this has to be one of the worst streets in Kitsap County,” she said. “We have poured gravel/rock into the countless huge potholes but they quickly disappear with usage.

“My landlord pays taxes on the property — why won’t the county maintain it?  Help!”

The out basket: Her description reminded me of the condition of the unpaved stretch of Polk Street near Manchester, the subject of a January 2011 Road Warrior column.

Once I determined that Patricia’s Taylor Street wasn’t the one that’s actually in Port Orchard, I went looking for it and found that its issues not only are shared by Polk Street, they’re only about two blocks apart. They’re just two of several streets intersecting California Avenue named after some of our less illustrious presidents.

As with Polk, the nearly undrivable part of Taylor was created without being built to county standards, and the county won’t assume responsibility for its maintenance until it meets them. Doing so would cost a lot of money and where it gets done, it’s usually as a local improvement district overseen by the county and paid for by county-collected assessments.

Until then, the residents bear the burden of dealing with its failures.

I revisited Polk as long as I was in the area, and it looked like someone have applied a fairly serviceable layer of crashed rock to a short stretch of its unpaved area. But the rest still rivaled the end of Taylor Street for mud holes that require slow speed and nimble maneuvering to avoid challenging one’s wheel alignment.


Wee hour power outages linked to transmission line job

The in basket: This Road Warrior will go a bit afield from our normal subject matter, dealing with a series of power outages, but since my wife and I had been wondering about the same thing, I told Dave Dahlke of South Kitsap I’d try to get him an answer.

When I saw Dave at the Memorial Day ceremony at Sunset Lane Cemetery, he asked if I knew what has been causing the power to go out briefly in the wee hours of the morning in the Manchester area. It had happened three times at his house, and at ours, over the past couple of months. The most recent was last Sunday at 2:50 a.m..

Each time the outage lasted an hour or so. It meant unplugging our various computer-enhanced appliances to guard against power-surge damage when the power was restored, and, of course, resetting our clocks.

Dave wondered if it was related in any way to the multi-million dollar transmission line Puget Sound Energy has had built along Mile Hill Drive and Baby Doll, Collins and Woods roads.

The out basket: Thanks to the sharp  eye of Linda Streissguth, PSE’s manager of government and community relations, I got an answer.

She spotted an entry on their call log showing that I had inquired about the outages. The first PSE employee I talked with was able to tell me only that Sunday’s resulted from a branch on a limb. Without the dates of the other outages, she couldn’t tell me more.

But Linda was aware of the two outages without needing to know the dates. And yes, they were related to the transmission line project., she said.

The work includes modifications inside three substations in addition to the work along the roads, she said. It involves transferring the power load from one line to another, and on those two occasions early in the morning, an equipment failure knocked out the power for an hour or so.

It was just an odd coincidence that Sunday’s outage was at the same approximate time of day and duration as those two, she said. It wasn’t related to the project.

“We’re working hard on this very significant project,” she said, and asked the customers to be patient. The job is to improve the reliability of electrical service in eastern South Kitsap. More detail can be found online at www.pse.com/inyourcommunity/kitsap/constructionprojects, and clicking on East Port Orchard to Manchester transmission line.


Asplundh on tree felling binge on Mile Hill Drive

The in basket: Asplundh Tree Experts have been conspicuously busy along Mile Hill Drive in South Kitsap the past few weeks. They began, it appeared, on Baby Doll Road a few feet off of Mile Hill Drive where they spent at least two days removing branches if not entire trees.

They definitely appeared to be taking down entire trees next to the Abbey Lane apartments just downhill from Harrison Avenue and then went into full tree removal mode just downhill from Jackson Avenue the first week of this month.

You often see Asplundh crews limbing trees as part of Puget Sound Energy’s ongoing vegetation management program to prevent weather-caused power outages. But this was clearly a lot more than than.

The out basket: Indeed it is, says Lindsey Walimaki of PSE. It’s the middle part of a $9 million transmission line-substation upgrade to help curtail power outages in the Manchester area. The substations on Mitchell Avenue and Woods Road have been improved and now work has begun on a new four-mile transmission line that will cost $4 million of the total.

It will run along Mitchell Avenue, Mile Hill Drive, Baby Doll Road, Collins Road and end at the substation just east of Collins on Woods.

Many of the small power poles that now carry distribution lines along that route will be replaced by taller ones that will carry the new transmission lines as well as the

distribution lines. The tree work will continue into April, and the new wires should be strung and in service by June, Lindsey said.

It all includes upgrades at the Long Lake substation too, with that work scheduled from April to July with transmission line work there in July.

Unfortunately for wood gatherers, the wood isn’t available to the public, she said, though private property owners can keep that which is left on their land if they wish. Perhaps a person could make a deal with the property owner. The rest is hauled away.

You can read a lot more about the project and five other ones PSE  has under way or about to start in Kitsap County at its Web site, www.pse.com/ Click on kitsap at the bottom then Construction Projects in the box on the left of the window.

Most don’t involved a lot of tree work, but there is a pilot project in the Wildcat Lake area of Central Kitsap, and along Seabeck Highway south of Holly Road.

That area is hard hit by power outages, Lindsey said. So the company will experiment will taking limbs above power lines that might fall on them in a windstorm, rather than it’s usual practice of just removing limbs that have grown within reach of the wires.

Three of the other projects described on the Web site are on Bainbridge Island and the sixth is at a substation between Bremerton and Gorst.

“Local Traffic Only” signs are tough to enforce

The in basket:  Elaine Rogers, who lives on Polk Street near Manchester in South Kitsap, says she and her husband are elderly and disabled and hope the county will grade the road in front of their home so they can use their mobility scooters.

“We can’t get to our mailbox,” she said.

The out basket: When I drove their road, which is paved for a distance from California Avenue, then becomes little more than a wagon path as it goes on to Woods Road, I saw all the earmarks of an unimproved county road never accepted by the county and so not maintained to any degree.

And that is the case, say Doug Bear of Kitsap County public works and Jim Barnard of the Department of Community Development.

In the the past, the county would approve plats with only half the needed road right of way provided, Jim said, expecting to get the other half when the adjoining parcel was developed. That’s what happened on that stretch of Polk. “Only the portion where the road was built (up to the end of the asphalt) met the standard,” Doug said.,

So not only is the rest almost undrivable, it has only half the necessary width for a county road.

The county won’t spend tax dollars on it until it has adequate right of way and is brought up to standards, which would include pavement and adequate sub-base. It would cost tens of thousands of dollars, paid for by the property owners who would benefit, as an addition to their property taxes over 10 to 15 years, Jim said. And they’d have to vote to do it.

There are a lot of such roads in the county, Doug said.

None of that was news to Elaine, I learned when I reported back to her. She said the real problem is off-roaders who seem to have spotted their miserable road online, on Google Maps, possibly, and make paying to fill the potholes with gravel futile. They push the gravel aside and reestablish the mud-holes soon after they’re filled, she said.

They got the county to put a “Local Traffic Only” sign on the Woods Road end, and ignoring it in one’s vehicle would be a $124 infraction for failure to obey a traffic control device, says Deputy Scott Wilson of Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office.

But enforcement is nearly impossible, Scott said, requiring a deputy to patrol it, determine if the driver is a resident, or a guest of or providing a service to one. Such a stop, in the rare instance when one got made, would block the one-lane road while it was handled, he added.

The only things likely to get a deputy there would be criminal driving matters like DUI, hit and run or reckless driving, he said. More routine traffic infractions, “would not be an efficient use of law enforcement resources.”

Where’s Port Orchard, B&B customers wonder

The in basket: Kareen Stockton, who runs the Little Clam Bay Bed & Breakfast near Manchester in South Kitsap, says she has a beef with the state’s destination signs coming out of  Bremerton.

“I often have guests that come over to the peninsula on the Bremerton ferry,” she said. “A common complaint I hear from my guests is, ‘Why are there no signs from the Bremerton ferry directing people to Port Orchard?’  Even at the turn going south at Callow the sign directs drivers to Shelton, but does not include Port Orchard.

“I find this puzzling,” Kareen said, “especially since Port Orchard is the county seat.  Any chance of adding Port Orchard to the ‘Shelton sign’?   I am sure my guests are not the only ones who would benefit from this change.”

When I told her Little Clam Bay is closer to Manchester than Port Orchard, she added that as a complaint. There are no signs until well past the first two exits to Port Orchard as one approaches Sedgwick Road on Highway 16 to guide a person coming from Bremerton to Manchester, she said.

The out basket: We encountered this concern earlier this year, when Traffic Operations Engineer Steve Bennett of the state highway department explained why destination signs entering Highway 3 in Silverdale mention Shelton and not Tacoma. Tacoma isn’t on Highway 3 and Shelton is, he said.

As for Kareen’s complaint, Steve said, “We have no plans on changing the signing. Drivers have an obligation to know basically where they are going before they leave, as signing cannot be provided for every possible destination.

“From the Bremerton ferry, possible destinations  include Poulsbo, Bainbridge Island, Gorst, Port Orchard, Belfair and further away, Port Townsend and Sequim.  You can imagine the litany of signs that would be needed if all these destinations were signed.

“Shelton was chosen for the signs on (the highway from the Bremerton ferry) to give drivers a general idea how to get out of the city to head south.  After leaving Bremerton on Highway 3, drivers then encounter signs showing the way to Port Orchard, Tacoma, Belfair and Shelton. It seems to work well as we do not hear from folks saying they can’t find these cities after getting off the ferry.”

He didn’t say so, but federal standards limit the amount of information on signs at any given location to minimize the time drivers are looking away from traffic to read them.

As for Manchester, Steve says, “On major freeways like (Highway) 16, we do not sign for small unincorporated towns like Manchester, as the available sign space is taken up by larger towns and cities.

“We do however sign for these unincorporated towns, on smaller state highways, when space is available and the location meets our criteria. The criteria for signing to small unincorporated towns is that they must have either a post office or at least two motorist services such as food and a gas station.”

Manchester doesn’t do badly under those conditions. Manchester State Park is included on destination signs on both Highway 16 and Highway 160 (Sedgwick Road) and a sign on Highway 166 (Mile Hill Drive) in Port Orchard, though past downtown, tells how many miles it is to Manchester,

Kareen said she would have liked to see a more direct route signed than going all the way to Sedgwick and doubling back on Long (“very long,” she interjected) Lake Road.

Of course, there is always GPS, but Kareen can’t buy a break there either.

The county renamed her tiny street in 2008 from Montana Street to Jessica Way, because there is another stretch of Montana Street that doesn’t connect to hers. The GPS in my 2010 Prius, bought in January and presumable current, wanted to send me to Beaverton, Oregon, when I ask for Jessica Way. It takes me directly to her B&B when I ask for the old address on Montana Street, but when GPS tells me I’m there, the sign says Jessica Way, which turns out to be little more than a driveway. An unprepared person would drive on, figuring the GPS screwed up.

Ironically, Kareen tells me, she still getS mail from Kitsap County send to the Montana street address.

Tanker trucks on wrong Manchester streets

The in basket: One of the items on the Tuesday morning agenda of the Manchester public safety group was a caravan of tanker trucks spotted moving along Alaska Avenue and steep Madrone Avenue on their way to the Manchester Fuel Depot on Monday.
The designated route for those trucks, both arriving empty and leaving full, is Colchester Drive, and the group wondered how the trucks wound up on the wrong streets.
The out basket: It was a mistake, said Bob Cairns, acting director of the fuel depot.
Bob had already fielded a call from the county about the incident and was a little upset.
It was the first trip here by an Army reserve unit from Minnesota that is temporarily stationed in Yakima while they train for delivering fuel in the Iraqi war zone, he said. They are ferrying the fuel they get here to Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane. They drive camouflaged trucks, rather than the dull red ones Manchester residents usually see coming and going.
“They made a wrong turn,” one street before Colchester, Bob said. “We corrected it as soon as we found out.”
“I’d like to see the public give them some slack,” he added. “They’re on their way to Iraq next month.”
He noted that the wrong turn, while inadvertent, may have been a valuable training experience. “Making a wrong turn in Iraq can have catastrophic results,” he said.