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New traffic signals added to SR 3/303 interchange

Traffic signals were installed at the State Route 3/303 interchange to help alleviate congestion.  - Photo by Jesse Beals
Traffic signals were installed at the State Route 3/303 interchange to help alleviate congestion.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals

After headaches, traffic backups and confusion has clouded the State Route 3/303 interchange, a new off-ramp and traffic signals on the Waaga Way overpass were completed and turned on at the end of the day on Monday. Drivers are urged to pay closer attention to the continual traffic shifts.

“This interchange will look quite different to motorists ...” said Project Engineer Brendan Clarke in a news release. “Not only have we added a signal, but we’ve shifted lanes, closed ramps drivers are used to and opened new ones.”

With the significant changes made, motorists may experience traffic impacts during the adjustment period. Monday marked the activation of new traffic signals on the Waaga Way overpass as part of an ongoing project to keep traffic moving through the interchange.

The activation of the signal correlates with Washington State Department of Transportation’s (WSDOT) additional plans of opening two new ramps to traffic at the north end of the project area. The traffic signals will control motorists to and from the new ramps.

“Ultimately, it’s going to eliminate one of the traffic signals that’s (on the overpass) right now,” Clarke added. “(The change) will bring everything together at one interchange so you can (better control) traffic.”

Clarke added that there will be a learning curve for motorists associated with the new interchange configuration. Southbound drivers on SR 3 wanting to reach SR 303 will now exit from an off-ramp approaching the interchange. This exit replaced the existing cloverleaf off-ramp which drivers previously accessed by traveling beneath the overpass.

Drivers also can now access northbound SR3 from the new onramp at the Waaga Way overpass, regardless of what direction on SR 303 they are traveling. This will help ease congestion by redirecting motorists away from Clear Creek Road and Kitsap Mall Boulevard.

“It may take a week or two for drivers to adjust to the changes,” Clarke said.

In addition to these changes, the northbound onramp to SR3 from Kitsap Mall Boulevard is open but will soon be closed so construction of a direct access ramp to southbound SR303 can resume. Weather permitting, WSDOT will complete final configurations of the project with permanent ramps within the next three weeks.

Construction for 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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