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Traffic signal may get a green light this year

POULSBO — Grassroots efforts really do pay off. Just ask Jim Turner.

Since the Suquamish resident and his family have been advocating for a traffic light at the Bond Road and Gunderson Road intersection after his wife was killed there in December 2004, the community has rallied behind them.

Word of this effort made it to Olympia last month and Sen. Phil Rockefeller (D-Bainbridge Island) vowed to do what he could to get the light there as soon as possible. He has been working with the chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen (D-Camano Island), to attain more funding for the project.

“Despite our state’s budget problems, public safety has to be a high priority,” Rockefeller said. “Let’s get this fixed sooner rather than later.”

More than two weeks ago, restriping of the intersection took place, moving the northbound deceleration lane further east, as directed by State Representative Beverly Woods (R-Poulsbo). Signs warning oncoming drivers of the dangerous cross traffic are expected to be installed within the next few weeks.

Woods is the ranking Republican on the State House Transportation committee, however, the legislature has been working directly with the Washington State Department of Transportation on this project.

Woods has given the WSDOT the go-ahead to start on engineering plans for the signal with the intention of installing the signal by the end of this summer. Additional funding has been put into the 2005-2007 budget for the project.

“(It will cost) a little less than $350,000,” she said. “That’s not a problem — that will be in there.”

Soon after the state passes the budget in mid April, WSDOT will be able to order the hardware and the signal, she said.

“It’s something we have been able to do in the past,” WSDOT communications manager for the Olympic region Lloyd Brown said of the expedited funding practice. “Obviously, the interest in this intersection, the priority that DOT has already given it and the interest the local community and legislature has given it helps make this possible.”

Woods said she would also like to develop an emergency safety contingency fund for similar situations to ensure funding will be immediately available to remedy problems, rather than having to wait for funding to be passed through the budget.

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