Construction work anticipated in two years.
June 10, 2008 · Updated 5:42 PM
"Joe Irwin/ Staff Photo Culverts at Lincoln Road are becoming a major issue in the SR 305 project as concerns about how to best assist local salmon populations continue to arise. POULSBO - Halted momentarily in the funding congestion caused by Initiative 695, it appears that Poulsbo's proposal to widen Highway 305 from three to five lanes is once again moving forward slowly but surely. Design work on the plan to add two High-Occupancy Vehicle lanes to the route is 90 percent complete, according to John Wynands, project engineer for the state Department of Transportation. But aside from that piece, much of the multi-million project is still an unfinished puzzle. The 305 steering committee met in Poulsbo Tuesday morning, once again sorting through the plan in hopes of creating a final picture that both the state and city can be proud of. To achieve this though, the group must first address everything from stormwater treatment, traffic concerns and wetland mitigation to right-of-way purchases and impact on local businesses and the environment. After over two hours of discussion, the committee found itself pushing many items into subcommittees for additional review, input and discussion - a trend which will likely follow the project to its conclusion. ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES PENDING With new salmon restrictions continuing to put a damper on development, the SR 305 project may be hard pressed to escape the growing red tape nets of the Endangered Species Act. Despite this, DOT officials feel the project will meet the stringent demands of federal agencies as well as the state Department of Ecology. Environmental permits will dictate a lot of things on this, Wynands said of DOT's ability to progress as planned. The department and city are hoping to break dirt on the widening by summer of 2002 but will not be able to work during wetter months due to construction and salmon habitat issues. It's a two-season project and that means two summers. The project will include an extensive stormwater treatment and filtration systems to ensure that the waters of Dogfish Creek and Liberty Bay are not adversely impacted. We'll be collecting (water from) all the impervious surfaces from Hostmark north, Troy Cowan, assistant project engineer for the DOT, explained of the proposal's northern leg. State officials are trying to avoid using the Kitsap County treatment facility on Bond Road because, over time, it would prove to be cost prohibitive. We're looking into drainage issues still, Wynands said. The project will have a tight line system from Hostmark north, meaning water that goes into the system will stay in the system, Cowan said. We are going to have to pick up all the water, detain and treat it, Wynands added. The reason, according to Cowan, is pretty much cut and dried. Right now there's pretty much unrestricted flow into Dogfish Creek, he explained. In addition to collecting the additional runoff from the extended roadway, the project will strive to enhance existing culverts which often hinder the upstream travel of local salmon stocks. Improved fish passage is a major goal in the development as well and DOT is looking to better access at SR 305 and Lincoln by expanding several culvert systems at the intersection. However, city councilman Mike Regis raised serious questions as to what impact increased silt flow would have on the salmon. Increasing the size of the culverts means increasing their water flow as well, he explained, noting that while it leaves a larger passage for the fish, it also could spell dramatic hikes in the amount of silt coming from the steep forested hillsides of Wilderness Park. The fish crossed the road, but he's not going to lay any eggs - he can't - there's too much silt, Regis said, adding that downstream improvements were needed as well. As much as I would like to see salmon in (Dogfish Creek), they're not going to shop at the shopping center. We do have some huge concerns about the downstream effects of opening up those culverts, said Wynands, adding that the DOT was spending a good deal of time trying to rectify anticipated issues. Nonetheless, he conceded, We're going to have to go back and look at where we are. WILL WIDENING help 305 TRAFFIC DELAYS ? This is the real question with the project. State officials feel strongly enough about the potential success that they're backing the plan with over $10.5 million. Even though the city is kicking an additional $3.36 into the project kitty it has been deemed experimental. After all is said and done, the widening project will add two HOV lanes to Highway 305. The lanes - like others around the nation - will be reserved for multi-occupancy vehicles. What sets the local project apart is that the lanes will only be designated HOV during peak traffic hours. At all other times of the day they may be used by any vehicle, whether there is a passenger aboard or not. "