Bucklin Hill bridge project delayed

The Bucklin Hill Road project has been delayed due to the permitting process taking longer than necessary.

The Bucklin Hill Road project has been delayed due to the permitting process taking longer than necessary.

Kitsap County Public Works department is hoping to get started this fall, or it could be summer 2015 before things get moving.

There are twin culverts beneath Bucklin Hill Road that will be replaced with a 240-foot bridge over the Clear Creek estuary, according to the Bucklin Hill bridge project fact sheet.

“What we are doing is we are basically trying to move this project to construction as soon as possible,” said Tina Nelson, senior program manager for Kitsap County Public Works.

Nelson said due to the nine permits that must be approved prior to starting the project is part of the reason it is taking so long to get going. Agencies at all levels–local, state and federal–are responsible for approving the permits on the project.

The project is aimed at allowing salmon to move freely about an estuary and for traffic to flow better, Nelson said. It isn’t uncommon for agencies to be particular, especially when it comes to working in “sensitive” areas like salmon estuaries.

Work in the estuary can only be performed between July and February due to the large amount of salmon in the area.

“It’s not something we’re not used to,” said Nelson. “It’s something you have to account for.”

As for relieving congestion on Bucklin Hill, Nelson noted that a detour to Ridgetop Blvd. is not the best way for the 20,000 cars that traverse Bucklin Hill to cut through on.

She encourages drivers to seek out other ways to get to where they are going as Silverdale Water District is also working on Bucklin Hill Road, which is congested with signs, barrels and cones for construction.

The district, Puget Sound Energy and Cascade Natural Gas are all taking part in moving utilities that would be in the way of the bridge construction.

While an inconvenience, the project must be done to improve sidewalks, increase the roadway to four lanes and help out the salmon, Nelson said. Notifying community members is one way to make the project less painless, the senior program manager believes.

“The message that we are trying to send out is that we’re not asking the community to fall in love with this project,” she said. “We are asking the community to tell everyone what’s going on.”

That includes finding routes that don’t drive right through the main veins of Silverdale, adding to congestion, she said.

As of now, the total cost for the project is $16.2 million, which includes $6.8 million in federal grants, and $4 million from state grants. The rest is from the county’s road fund.

For more information, visit www.bucklinhill.com for updates.