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Frequently Asked Questions

How will this project affect my commute?
In late-August 2011, WSDOT removes rock from the hillside, at two locations along SR 3 – mileposts .07 and 1.1 between SR 16 in Gorst and SR 304 in Bremerton.

To safely accomplish the work, WSDOT will shift traffic toward Puget Sound, reducing the widths of the two northbound and two southbound lanes from 12 feet wide to 10 feet wide, and reducing the speed limit from 50 mph to 35 mph through both work zones.

Drivers must pay special attention to bicyclists who use the route daily as there will be no shoulders through the work zone. As a result, bicyclists and drivers will be sharing the right lanes northbound and southbound for approximately one mile on SR 3 and should use extra caution.

What are the best times to travel through this area during construction? 
Drivers should expect delays. The best times to travel weekdays are northbound before 5 a.m. or after 9 a.m., and southbound before 2 p.m. or after 6 p.m.

During peak travel, engineers estimate a 24-minute delay (3.4 miles)  northbound, and a 34-minute delay (4.8 miles)  southbound.

Will traffic be impacted at night?
Work will be done during the day, however, due to the equipment and specialized rock barrier being used, temporary 10-foot lanes and a reduced speed limit will be in effect on a 24/7 basis throughout the two-month project.

Additionally, shifting and reducing from four 12-foot lanes to four 10-foot lanes requires lane closures and will be done at night. There will also be some brief rolling slowdowns during the day during non-peak traffic periods for tree falling operations. Weekly scheduled impacts are updated weekly and can be found at: www.wsdot.wa.gov/Regions/Olympic/Construction/#kitsap.

I regularly ride my bicycle through this area. With no shoulders and one lane of traffic in each direction, how will I safely navigate the area on two wheels? 
Drivers and bicyclists will share the right lanes of north and southbound SR 3.

However, bicyclists are be aided by shadow vehicles through the mile-long work zones. (Both motorists and cyclists may be unfamiliar with driving on a highway in such close proximity and are encouraged to use extra caution).

Shadow vehicles are available during peak commute hours Monday through Friday from 6 to 9 a.m. and 3 to 6 p.m.

Why can't WSDOT build a temporary path for bicyclists instead of using a shadow pilot?
Given the short duration of the project and considering the significant cost to build a separate bicycle path, WSDOT, along with local officials, the biking community and the WSP, elected to use a traffic control strategy (shadow vehicles) to accommodate bicyclists through the work area. In addition, WSDOT would have to secure property rights since it does not own enough property adjacent to the highway to build a path.

Why does the shadow vehicle operation cost $100,000?
The cost of the shadow car depends on how much it's used, it's not $100,000 up front.  The contractor bid the shadow vehicle operation at $78/hour. That's based on a calculation of 4 vehicles a day, working 8-hour days for 8 weeks (5 days in a week). WSDOT is going to evaluate the service and if it is not proving to be effective we will tailor or discontinue it.

Isn't this a lot of money to spend for 5 bikes per day?
October 2010 counts performed by DOT during peak hours showed an average of 5-6 cyclists per day use this route (that's coming and going). In June, the local bicycling club expressed concern that the number of cyclists is more in the 25-35 riders/day range.

WSDOT will monitor the shadow vehicle operation, talk to bicyclists in the area and actively collect data. As agreed with local officials, the biking community and the WSP, if the service is underutilized, it may be stopped or modified for effectiveness.

WSDOT, Why is WSDOT doing this project? “I’ve lived here for years and never heard of a rock falling in this area.”
WSDOT receives regular reports from its maintenance team about rock falling in the area; most of it is contained to the ditch. The most recent, significant event occurred in 2006, when 10-20 cubic yards of debris came down the cliffs. A similar event occurred during the Nisqually earthquake in 2001.

This project falls under WSDOT’s Unstable Slope Management Program which prioritizes the need for statewide unstable slope improvements.

Why can’t the work be done at night and have crews undo the work zone during the day?
Rock scaling and the stabilization work must be done during daylight hours for the safety of the construction crews. Because shifting and narrowing lanes requires grinding off paint lines, moving traffic barriers and restriping the roadway, it is not possible to undo the work zone setup daily. Additionally, the equipment and specialized rock barrier being used requires the work zone be in place on a 24/7 basis throughout the seven-week project.

Why is a company from Colorado being paid to do what Washington people could do?
By law, WSDOT’s accepts bids from all qualified firms and/or companies regardless of the state they originate from and the work is awarded to the lowest responsible bidder. For this project, Rock and Co. of Brighton, CO was awarded the project for their low bid of $1.3 million.

What can drivers do?

  • Know before you go - call 511, visit wsdot.wa.gov or sign up for the SR 3 Rock Scaling list serve for personal notification of project news delivered to your computer or phone.
  • Delay or reschedule trips during off-peak travel times.
  • Allow extra time to reach destinations.
    Share the road and provide safe distances between bicycles and cars.
  • Pay special attention and “Give ‘em a Brake” in the construction zone.