New PO roundabout to bring another summer of driving issues

One roundabout project ends, another begins and the circle of frustrated Port Orchard drivers lives on.

Crews have worked to make the final touches – lane markings among other work – on the new roundabout at the intersection of Bethel Avenue and Bay Street in early June.

The work is expected to bring a long-awaited completion to a controversial state project that created lengthy delays for downtown traffic in all directions and deterred customers from many local businesses since July of last year with a brief pause in work through the winter.

However, the news remains bittersweet as work began this week on another project, starting with a $1.47 million roundabout at the intersection of Mitchell Road and Lincoln Avenue near the Y-shaped intersection of Mitchell and Bethel.

The city of Port Orchard announced recently that Puget Sound Energy will begin traffic control to underground power and communications, closing the strip of Lincoln between the two other streets in the process.

This is the first of two roundabouts to be built within that strip of road. A second one at the intersection of Bethel, Lundberg and Lincoln could begin as soon as next year.

The city obtained over $900,000 in state grants for the first roundabout.

The city’s contractor will begin as early as June 17 after school ends at South Kitsap High. Traffic will be detoured during construction. The city’s goal is to have work finished around Labor Day to minimize the effect on SKSD transportation.