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Rounding the way — Construction on new Silverdale roundabout expected to begin by May 2012

A design rendering of the new roundabout that will be constructed at the intersection where Chico Way meets Silverdale Way and Newberry Hill Road. Construction is scheduled to begin on the project by May 2012. - Contributed graphic
A design rendering of the new roundabout that will be constructed at the intersection where Chico Way meets Silverdale Way and Newberry Hill Road. Construction is scheduled to begin on the project by May 2012.
— image credit: Contributed graphic

Tom Tochtrop was born and raised in San Diego so the congestion he comes across at the intersection at the south end of Silverdale where Chico Way meets Newberry Hill Road and Silverdale Way isn’t that big of a deal to him.

However, that intersection will have some major work done to it as a new roundabout is added in several months.

“If it would be an improvement, I’m not opposed,” said Tochtrop, who lives just south of the intersection. “At least they’re trying.”

While a public meeting last year drew criticisms from the community about inserting a roundabout at what some consider the gateway to Silverdale, construction is scheduled to begin on the roundabout by May 2012. Another public meeting will be scheduled about three weeks before construction begins, with the contractor on hand to answer questions.

Cars will still have access to drive through the area during construction, said Tina Nelson, senior program manager with Kitsap County Public Works. The only exception is that access to and from Chico Way may be closed intermittently. Nelson explained the project timeline to the Central Kitsap Community Council last month.

“The roadway will be open at all times,” she said of the main corridors.

The $2.1 million project will take 100 working days to complete, Nelson said. The county plans to advertise bids for construction at the end of February or beginning of March. The roundabout is expected to be complete by November 2012.

Nelson announced that the county recently received a $1.2 million grant from the state Transportation Improvement Board, which would go toward the roundabout. The original money that was reserved for the project will now go toward other county roads projects, Nelson said.

Aside from the physical roundabout construction, a few new trees will be planted and the stormwater system will get some fine-tuning in that area.

The roundabout will be 150 feet in diameter and will be similar to the one in Port Orchard. It is significantly larger than the roundabout at Anderson Hill Road in Silverdale and will be able to accommodate fire trucks, school buses and other large vehicles, said Nelson. Current designs show a “Welcome to Silverdale” sign in the middle of the roundabout.

Although it will be built to accommodate two lanes, it will be striped for one lane at the beginning. Once the widening of Silverdale Way to four lanes is complete, the roundabout will be striped for two lanes, Nelson said.

The widening of Silverdale Way from Byron Street to Anderson Hill Road is scheduled to begin construction in 2016 and will cost $3.1 million, Nelson said. Widening this segment of Silverdale Way and the roundabout project are covered in the county’s local roads fund. The expansion of Silverdale Way from the roundabout to Byron Street is not scheduled because there is no reserved money for it, she added.

Carol Smiley, who lives in a house adjacent to the soon-to-be construction site, said although the county has been communicating with the nearby property owners about the project, she has some concerns. She hopes that she will continue to have easy access to her house and that although the current berm that separates her residence from the road will be taken away, that she will still have some privacy.

“I know it’s coming,” Smiley said. “I’ve accepted the fact that it’s coming.”

Smiley said that there are times — especially during rush hour — when making a left turn onto Newberry Hill Road from Chico Way can take a while. Other drivers are sometimes conscientious and will wait and let drivers who are turning into the road, she said. Otherwise, a few minutes of wait-time is expected.

The intersection where the roundabout will be constructed averages about 22,000 vehicles daily, according to Nelson. During “peak hours” of traffic, from 1,000 to 1,200 cars pass in each direction daily.

“I don’t think it’s going to solve all the issues of all the backup of traffic, but traffic will be flowing more,” said Smiley.

After traffic studies conducted in 2010, a roundabout appeared to be the best option to improve traffic on Silverdale Way. Another option that was originally discussed was putting a light at the intersection of Silverdale Way and Newberry Hill Road with Chico Way. A majority of the Central Kitsap Community Council favored inserting a roundabout rather than a traffic signal.

Although negatives comments and skepticism were received a year ago from some residents, Nelson said she had not received any concerns recently about the project.

Things will likely change once construction begins.

“I am expecting to hear from people,” Nelson said. “People always have issues when construction happens.”

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