SUQUAMISH — Soon, planners promise, traffic flow will be smoother at the intersection of Highway 305 and Suquamish Way. Park-and-ride parking will be safer and more secure. And the intersection will be more bicyclist- and transit user-friendly.
Construction begins March 7 — and is expected to be completed this summer — on improvements at the intersection, through which an average of 22,000 vehicles pass a day.
“Most of the work will be done at night and a lot of the work will be done off the highway,” said Doug Adamson, a spokesman for the state Department of Transportation.
Adamson said on March 1 he didn’t yet know how many days of the week the contractor will work on the project. But he said motorists could expect weeknight one-way alternating traffic with occasional shoulder and turn-lane closures.
The first improvement will be immediate: The park-and-ride lot at the intersection will permanently close after March 6; a new public park-and-ride has been established at the Clearwater Clearwater Casino Resort parking garage.
The old park-and-ride lot will become part of a wider, 600-foot right-turn lane that will be separated from 305 by an island.
Motorists crossing Agate Pass Bridge from Bainbridge Island “will see that turn lane begin a lot sooner,” Adamson said.
“When this opens up, [motorists] will notice an immediate difference” in traffic flow.
The project will also result in additional sidewalks with ADA-compliant ramps, wide shoulders, and flashing lights that signal drivers when bicyclists are present on the bridge; bicyclists and motorists share the road.
Steffani Lillie, service and capital director at Kitsap Transit, described the island as a raised “transit platform,” where transit passengers can embark and disembark.
“It will actually be quite large,” she said. “There will be a full shelter there that can house 10 people. Along with some safety pieces, it will be noticeable and will be a refuge for transit users.”
In the 2012 transportation budget, the Legislature directed the state Department of Transportation to design a solution that would alleviate congestion at the intersection, and provided $750,000 from federal and state sources for preliminary design. Planning involved the collaboration of Kitsap Transit, the Suquamish Tribe, Kitsap County, bicycle groups and WSDOT.
Kitsap Transit received a regional mobility grant for $3 million for the project, “more than we anticipate this project costing,” Lillie said. Port Madison Enterprises Construction Corporation was awarded the project for $1 million.
In an email, Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson wrote, “This is very good for all of North Kitsap and something that many of us have worked on for a very long [time]. This is the first real step in transportation improvements and congestion relief [there].”