State Route 305 project to continue through fall ’08

POULSBO — State Route 305 has been a route of change since construction to widen the thoroughfare began in August 2006.

At its orange-coned peak the road became the root of many driver’s frustration.

But the project originally slated to wrap up last fall is now heading out of winter hibernation and into its final leg, and the Washington State Department of Transportation is saying this October construction will finally be complete.

“I don’t think you’re going to see all the orange cones and barrels out of the way until the fall,” said DOT spokesperson Lisa Murdock, adding it was the rainy weather that cost the project many working days.

The final pavement overlay and lane striping will be done during the summer months, once Poulsbo is officially in nicer weather.

Murdock said some utility and water quality work is also on the agenda. Some daytime lane closures will occur, but most will be during the night, and none are officially scheduled.

The project was originally awarded at a bid of $14.9 million, but costs have come in at least $5 million higher. Murdock said overall the project had $27 million in total funding, but its price tag has risen to about $30 million, in part due to water quality control issues.

Poulsbo Police Chief Dennis Swiney said things have been running smoothly on his end, including the public’s use of the SR 305 high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, which opened at the start of the year.

“It has gone extremely well to this point,” he said.

He said there is still the occasional accident on the highway, but none have been attributed to the HOV lanes, and the DOT, Poulsbo Police and project managers continue to meet to discuss and evaluate how the roadway is functioning for drivers.

Officers are still out educating the public and being a visible agency along the road, but Swiney said the lanes have actually been “relatively quiet,” and no flagrant violations have taken place.

“My phone is not ringing off the hook,” he joked, adding he had anticipated issues and concerns.

He also said the DOT is going to look into traffic light synchronization, and motorists should soon expect light cycles to be adjusted and improved.

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