Family testifies before the senate for traffic light

OLYMPIA — There was peace of mind for the Turner family April 4.

The family and friends of the late Elaine Turner testified before the state Senate Committee on Transportation regarding the proposed biennium 2005-07 transportation budget. It includes $342,000 for a traffic light to be installed at the Bond Road and Gunderson Road intersection.

Suquamish resident Jim Turner’s wife Elaine Turner was killed in a car accident at the intersection Dec. 14, 2004. Turner and his family and friends showed up for the committee and asked the group to make sure this funding was in the budget.

“My grandmother was the most caring, thoughtful, gentle soul,” said Turner’s granddaughter, Dominique Turner-Herrin, at the hearing. “We needed to see this through to the end and ensure that she did not die in vain.”

Sen. Phil Rockefeller (D-Bainbridge Island) has been working with Senate Transportation Committee Chair Mary Margaret Haugen (D-Camano Island) on expediting the installation of a traffic light at that intersection, which had originally been scheduled for completion for October 2006.

Construction could begin as soon as July 1 and be completed no later than early fall.

The committee passed its proposed budget, Substitute Senate Bill 6091, April 5 with funding for the light.

“We know there’s a problem with that intersection and safety has to be a priority. Lives are at stake,” Rockefeller said. “I appreciate the tremendous efforts of the Turner family and the decision of Sen. Haugen to accelerate the installation.”

Also included the senate transportation plan was $135 million for the replacement of the east half of the Hood Canal Bridge and $11.3 million for High-Occupancy Vehicle lanes on State Route 305 in Poulsbo from Hostmark Road to Bond Road. The budget includes more than $300 million in improvements and investments the next 10 years in and around Kitsap County.

The state House of Representatives released its transportation plan April 11 and was expected to approve it on Tuesday. Funds for $342,000 are listed in the proposal for the traffic light.

Next, leadership from the house, senate and Gov. Christine Gregoire’s office are expected to create a single budget that all sides can agree on before sending it back to the house and senate for approval and then to the Governor’s office for her signature. The legislature is expected to complete this action before it adjourns April 24.

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