Bond project gets urgent green light

KINGSTON — For 23rd Dist. State Rep. Beverly Woods (R-Kingston), Thursday’s fatality at the Gunderson and Bond roads intersection reinforced her desire to have a traffic light installed there.

As she was driving to Kingston that morning, she came upon the three-car collision, realized what happened and immediately got on the phone to Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to let them know how quickly they need to get the light in after a contractor is chosen.

“I have assurances with DOT,” she said. “They are going to put an emergency on (the traffic light project) to have contractors do it ASAP.”

Thursday’s accident involved three cars and injured five people, one of whom was airlifted to Harborview Hospital.

A 2002 Lincoln, driven by Don McKay, 78, of Indianola, was stopped in the left-turn lane on Gunderson Road. Just as a 1997 Honda Accord passed through the intersection, north on Bond Road, the Lincoln turned left onto southbound Bond Road but reportedly struck the Honda’s rear. The driver of the Accord, Jerrine Gabrio, 49, of Kingston, lost control of the car at first but corrected it as she came back across the southbound lane of Bond Road. However, she collided with a 2005 Honda Pilot, driven by Theresa Mattsen, 40, of Bremerton, which was also headed southbound. The Pilot struck the passenger side of the Accord, injuring the Accord’s passenger, Marie Hoefener, 84, of Kingston, who was airlifted to Harborview and later died due to injuries.

McKay was not injured, nor was his passenger, Anne McKay, 74, also of Indianola. Gabrio was transported to Harrison Hospital for minor injuries. Mattsen and her two children, ages 6 and 9, were transported to Harrison Hospital for minor injuries. Poulsbo Fire and North Kitsap Fire & Rescue responded.

Washington State Trooper Brian George said he believes it’s not so much the design of the road as it is the behavior of the drivers.

“Once again, it appears it’s a right of way (issue),” he said. “Someone did not yield to another vehicle. I can’t reinterate enough that if anyone is stopped at any intersection, prior to pulling across the lane or anything, they have to yield to all vehicles.”

The project for the traffic light goes out to bid Sept. 8, and both Woods and WSDOT officials want to have it installed by the end of October, if not by the end of the year.

Most of the materials for the project are in place, Woods said, and it’s just a matter of waiting for a contractor to be chosen to install the light. Woods pushed for money to be included in this year’s state transportation budget for the traffic light following a grassroots campaign by residents following the death of Suquamish resident Arlone Elaine Turner, who was killed there in a car accident in December.

Bicyclist ----- died at the intersection ----.

“This has gone as fast as possible and it’s going to continue to be expedited as much as we possibly can,” said WSDOT communication manager for the Olympic Region Lloyd Brown.

Woods has also proposed an additional $5 million for the transportation budget, pending the outcome of Initiative 912 this November, to install safety features on Bond Road, such as rumble strips on the center lane and conduct a study on Bond Road that shows where guardrails need to be installed and shoulders widened. The remaining funds would be used for Hood Canal Bridge and holding lanes for State Route 3 when the bridge is open for marine traffic.

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