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Hansville's Cliffside neighborhood braces for summer roadwork

Excavators clear the way for an extension of Cliffside Road Wednesday. - Brad Camp/For the Herald
Excavators clear the way for an extension of Cliffside Road Wednesday.
— image credit: Brad Camp/For the Herald

HANSVILLE — A county road improvement project is intended to make Cliffside Road safer and easier to drive, but some residents are skeptical it will be worth a summer of traffic delays.

The $917,000 project began last week with tree clearing and will continue through the summer. Contractors will widen Cliffside Road and rebuild its junction with Little Boston Road, while improving the road’s stormwater system. Work could continue as late as November, said Kitsap County Public Works Construction Manager Jacques Dean.

Traffic will be alternated through the work area and delays of up to 20 minutes can be expected. Barring unforeseen setbacks, the road will not be closed Dean said, “Not even for a day.”

Bonnie Isaacs, who represents the Cliffside area on the Greater Hansville Area Advisory Council, said she has heard few comments about the project from her neighbors, but the project was not something demanded by residents.

“I’m not aware of any push from the community at all,” she said.

Instead, the project was identified as a need in county traffic studies, Dean said.

Those studies showed increased traffic flowing in and out of the dense Hood Canal communities, including Cliffside, Shorewoods and Driftwood Key.

To make the road safer, contractors will widen lanes on Cliffside Road from 10 feet to 11 feet. Four-foot shoulders will be added to accommodate walkers and bicyclists.

Most dramatically, contractors are blazing 1,000 feet of new roadway across vacant county land to create a new connection between Cliffside Road and Little Boston Road (see an approximate map below).

cliffsidemap2

Currently, drivers motoring east on Cliffside Road take a hard right turn and descend a steep hill to a stop sign on Little Boston Road. The new connection will cut across a wooded knoll to create a straighter, smoother turn onto Little Boston Road.

“It will be a nice, even swing,” Dean said.

Cliffside Road will become the new throughway, while traffic traveling east on Little Boston Road will have a stop sign. The old stretch of Cliffside Road connecting to Little Boston Road will be removed.

Dean said the intersection redesign was driven by a study showing the bulk of traffic driving west from Hansville Road turns right onto Cliffside rather than continuing south into the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe reservation.

Despite the traffic studies, some nearby residents aren’t sure the improvements will be worth the construction hassle. Some said there was no major safety concern on the road, while others were perplexed as to why the county was rebuilding the Little Boston Road junction.

“Once it gets done, hopefully it will be an improvement,” Bridge View Drive resident Ted Weiss said. “The way it was was fine, I thought.”

Phyllis Bauer, a 20-year Bridge View Drive resident, said she had attended the public information meetings hosted by the county in the lead-up to the project, but still didn’t see the point of revising the intersection.

“I looked at the plans when they did it, and I don’t understand how it will work,” she said.

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