Traffic backups return as county starts road work

When stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic on Newberry Hill Road, don’t say you weren’t warned.

Signs have been posted about the coming road work for some time, said county Public Works officials as work began again on Monday. The oft-delayed project consists of installing a climbing lane, storm drains, a traffic signal at the accident-plagued intersection of Newberry Hill and Provost roads, and improvments in slope stabilization.

The project is expected to cost more than $2 million.

Simultaneously, Silverdale Water District (SWD) will be taking advantage of construction to expand and upgrade its water main.

Officials warn there may be up-to 20-minute waits when the road is closed occasionally. Flaggers will be on hand.

However, “This (Phase II) will go smoother than last year,” said Callene Abernathy, spokeswoman for Public Works. “Last year we were working along Seabeck Highway. There was more traffic and congestion.”

Because of possible long delays on Newberry, motorists are encouraged to take alternate routes, she said.

“It’s just the nature of the beast,” she commented. Work will continue until September.

Pape & Sons of Gig Harbor is doing the work — both for Public Works and the water district. The county is acting as general contractor through an interlocal agreement with SWD.

“It saves money and time” when agencies cooperate on construction, Abernathy said. Otherwise, the water district would have come in afterwards and re-opened the road.

“No matter how carefully you then patch it, the new road surface is never the same,” she said.

SWD General Manager Morgan Johnson said the water district will be replacing the fresh-water main on Provost from South 82nd Street, across Newberry Hill Road, then east to the S-turns near SR 3 — roughly a mile of piping.

The cost to lay 4,300-feet of new ductile-iron 12-inch pipe will be about $360,000, he said. The pipe will replace aging asbestos/concrete pipe which is less flexible in land movement.

Asbestos in water pipe is not thought dangerous compared to asbestos in other applications, such as insulation, in which it can be inhaled. The old asbestos/cement pipe was laid in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

The water project is scheduled to finish in July. There will be new hydrants, plus pressure-reducing stations as the pipeline descends the hill.

“It will increase the reliability of the system,” Johnson said.

SWD also recently cooperated with Public Works on installing new water pipes along Tracyton Boulevard N.W. during the traffic calming project.

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