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New lanesn SR 305 open Jan. 25

POULSBO — The time has arrived.

Though the State Route 305 expansion project is not quite complete, the new lane additions will open the evening of Jan. 25, allowing a little more breathing room for a thoroughfare that has been congested with construction since August 2006.

The outer lanes will take on their HOV status beginning Jan. 28. From 6-8 a.m. and 3-6 p.m. weekdays, they will be designated for high occupancy vehicles (HOV) only, said WSDOT communications manager Lisa Murdock. Their HOV status means only drivers with at least one additional passenger can use them.

Though a lane re-striping will need to occur after the road’s final asphalt overlay this spring, Murdock said the DOT decided to open the HOV lanes anyway, since their construction is so close to complete.

SR 305 widening project manager Jerry Moore said the road will contain bicycle lanes eventually, but until the final spring construction is finished, the shoulders will not be designated for cyclists because hazard cones are still in place near exposed piping.

As the HOV lanes swing into operation, the Poulsbo Police Department will be on hand to help educate drivers to their proper use. Both PPD chief Dennis Swiney and Poulsbo Mayor Kathryn Quade have said there will be a grace period before violations are given. According to the DOT Web site, a ticket for HOV lane misuse runs at $124.

The HOV lanes were put in place to help secure funding for the SR 305 widening project. Their placement follows the recommendation of a 1996 Parametrix traffic study, and they were designed to help improve the flow of traffic, especially Kitsap Transit vehicles, through Poulsbo. The widening project has an estimated price tag of $14.9 million, with a possible additional $5 million due to construction extension into spring. It was originally hoped to be completed last fall.

There will be a delay in the opening of the roadway between Highway 3 and SR 307 until more construction is completed there. For more information on the SR 305 widening project, visit www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/SR305/PoulsboSouthtoBondRd/. To learn more about HOV lanes win the state, check out www.wsdot.wa.gov/HOV/default.htm.

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