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SR 305 widening to continue in 2008

POULSBO — Motorists ticking down the days until October’s end while slogging through the orange-coned obstacle course of State Route 305 can stop counting. The work first expected to be finished this month will now take until next summer to complete.

“We’re not going to make the October dream date,” said Washington State Department of Transportation project engineer Jerry Moore. “It’s going to be early- to mid- next summer before this job gets wrapped up.”

Moore said the rainy weather, along with usual surprises and delays that occur during construction, led to setbacks which will keep the project from completion until summer 2008. The project began August 2006 with a projected $14.9 price tag, but Moore said the cost could reach the $20 million mark. He complimented Stan Palmer Construction crews for the hard work they’ve already accomplished, and said finishing curbs, gutters and sidewalks, improving pedestrian access to adjacent businesses and paving are all priorities before winter weather sets in.

“Right now everything we’re doing is being driven by weather more than anything else,” he said.

Project managers are also looking at one more possible closure of Bond Road in order to complete work near the North Kitsap Medical Center. Directing rainwater runoff to the stormwater system is also a priority. Carpool, transit and turning lanes, as well as bicycle lanes and sidewalks, are all part of the completed project’s design.

“We’re working very hard and fast,” he said. “It’s been a long summer for us.”

Emerald Hearth, Home and Spas, LLC owner Dave Sanford, who was one of several business owners who said the disruption along SR 305 has been detrimental to daily operation of his business, said the timeline extension is something he can live with.

“It is what it is,” he said. “There’s nothing I can do about it. I think they’ve got the lion’s share of it done, so ... as long as they stop for a while people will get used to it and start coming in again.”

Sanford said the flow of customers at his Poulsbo Business Park location has steadied some since the summer, and he’s optimistic work next year will cause much less disruption.

Councilman and Puget Sound Regional Council Transportation Policy Board member Jim Henry said he had hoped the project wouldn’t need extension, but understood crews had to work their construction schedule around impacts to the surrounding environment.

“I am a bit disappointed, however, I would rather them get it done right,” he said. “They’re as disappointed as we are.”

Henry said when it comes to city projects dependent on the finishing of SR 305, the repercussion of delay is inevitable.

“This delay is going to cause the city to delay,” he said. “We don’t know what normal is yet.”

While certain city tasks could be put on hold, city engineer Andrzej Kasiniak said the completion of the 7th Avenue extension shouldn’t be affected.

For more information about the SR 305 widening project, visit www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/SR305/PoulsboSouthtoBondRd/.

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