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Construction on interchange could start this fall

After pushing back the projected timeframe, the state Department of Transportation has placed the State Route 3/303 interchange project up for bids.

The project has been advertised since Aug. 22, said project engineer Gordon Roycroft. That means contractors have until Oct. 5 at which date all bids will be opened simultaneously.

Construction is expected to begin five weeks later after the contract has been worked out, Roycroft said.

“We’ve got different detours for different phases of the work on state and county roads,” he said, adding there is a “good” work zone traffic control plan.

The contractor locked in for the project will have to accept the existing plan or propose one of its own.

“There’s a degree of uncertainty of what the finished (construction-time traffic control) product will be,” Roycroft said.

What is even less certain is when construction will begin precisely. Construction-related traffic challenges might not be an issue until spring 2006.

Because it will take well beyond the bid deadline to finalize the contract, November weather may interfere. Roycroft said fall and winter showers may not permit the crews to begin work right away.

It is an extensive workload that companies are now competing for. The project includes widening of the Kitsap Mall Boulevard/Clear Creek Road overpass, new ramps and lights controlling traffic flow between the two highways, removing some existing ramps and creating a storm water treatment facility in the middle of the revamped interchange.

Two lights will help control traffic flow – one on the overpass and one at a new road extension connecting the overpass to Clear Creek Road. The section of SR 303 westbound which now dead-ends at Clear Creek, where drivers have to take a left toward Silverdale, will be removed.

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