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City using surplus for Caldart projects

POULSBO — With three major traffic improvement projects coming in $80,000 under budget, city officials were left with the question of what to do with the extra money before March 31.

City council members stepped up to the plate and decided to put the surplus funding toward three other projects: the purchase of the signal poles for a new traffic light at the intersection of Caldart Avenue and Lincoln Road; shoulder paving on Finn Hill Road west of Olhava; and additional road design on Caldart between Lincoln and Youngquist Street.

The funds were left over from bonds issued for the Finn Hill Road widening, which was completed in 2003 and improvements to 10th Avenue and Caldart Avenue, which were completed in 2004.

The Caldart signal project has been discussed for the last four years and is on the city’s Transportation Improvement Plan, said city engineer Andrzej Kasiniak.

“It has to be done before school starts in the fall and we want to get it done during the summer recess,” Kasiniak said.

There will be periodic lane closures during the installation but they shouldn’t significantly impact traffic, he said.

Once the light is installed, the city will be able to control the flow of traffic during the State Route 305 widening project, which will close Lincoln Road between 10th and 8th avenues for about four weeks, he said.

“We’ll be able to make it to where there isn’t as much congestion as there would be otherwise,” Kasiniak said.

The design work on Caldart will extend further north to the Caldart Heights and Snowberry Bungalows developments.

“We will be putting sidewalks on both sides of the road and will be installing a bioswale as well to make a rain garden,” he said, noting that the rain garden will be a first for the city and will provide an example of low-impact development for developers to consider in the future.

“It will have a boulevard feel and we’re going to have islands, which will help slow down traffic,” Kasiniak said.

While Caldart is receiving the majority of the excess funding, the shoulder paving on Finn Hill Road is equally important, he said.

“A lot of kids walk and ride their bikes in the area and this is going to make it safer,” Kasiniak said.

For Councilman Dale Rudolph, who has been a longtime advocate of the Caldart light, word of the signal poles’ purchase couldn’t have come at a better time.

“It’s nice to see it finally happening and it’s going to make things a lot safer,” Rudolph said.

Mayor Kathryn Quade also expressed her enthusiasm about the trio of projects, especially the additional design work on Caldart.

“This is one of the most exciting projects that has been brought forward,” Quade said. “It’s going to allow for some traffic calming and make things much safer.”

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