News

SR 3/303 traffic congestion will soon dissipate

By ERIN BEIL

Staff writer

Motorists who have been frustrated by the recent reconstruction of the State Route 3/State Route 303 Waaga Way interchange will soon see some relief.

The Washington State Department of Transportation will open the new on-ramp from SR 303 to southbound SR3. This ramp will create new access to southbound SR3 from both directions of SR303 at the new traffic signal located at the Waaga Way overpass. Once the new ramp is open, the existing ramp to southbound SR3 will be temporarily closed, reconfigured to restrict left turns and the existing traffic signal will be removed to allow for a continuous traffic flow at the intersection.

“We recognize the temporary configurations we had to put in place were frustrating to drivers,” said WSDOT Project Engineer Brenden Clarke. “Now we need to recognize the learning curve associated with the new, permanent signal system at Waaga Way.”

Clarke added that by eliminating the traffic signal at Kitsap Mall Boulevard, traffic congestion will be alleviated. Because so much work has been done on the interchange, Clarke added they have not been able to time the lights, also causing higher levels of traffic through the concentrated area.

All of the traffic at the Waaga Way interchange will now be controlled by a single-signal system. New to this area, WSDOT uses this type of signal in reconstruction projects where congestion is an issue because the signal will eliminate the number of stops.

“The best thing drivers can do is go when they get the green light,” he added. “Halfway through the intersection, supplemental traffic signals light up to provide further direction through the intersection.”

On Wednesday, WSDOT opened a new northbound ramp SR3 off-ramp to southbound SR303 which now provides a direct connection from northbound SR3 to southbound SR303 and allows vehicles to bypass the signals at both Clear Creek Road and the Waaga Way overpass.

“We’ve been adjusting the best we can,” Clarke added. “It should make more sense to people now.”

Construction on the $16.7 million project, which began in April 2006, is expected to be completed this fall. Once finished, drivers will have a direct access route between SR 3 and SR 303.

For more information on road and traffic updates, drivers can call 511 or visit www.wsdot.wa.gov/traffic. For additional project information, visit www.wsdot.wa.gov/projects/SR3/Waagaway/.

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