Tremont work scrambles intersection commute

But new roundabout at South Kitsap Boulevard is taking shape.

PORT ORCHARD — If you needed proof that the Tremont Street road widening project is progressing, look no further than the intersection of Tremont and South Kitsap Boulevard.

Since the middle of June, commuters heading to SR 16 and McCormick Woods from downtown Port Orchard via Tremont are traveling through this intersection that’s been stripped of its asphalt and usual traffic signal, leaving traffic flaggers during the day to signal drivers along the gravel and dirt stretch of roadway. At night, a four-way stop sign controls the pace of traffic.

The intersection upheaval — which started June 18 when the intersection signal was removed — is part of the project’s phase 2 work. Construction crews are reshaping the normally busy intersection into a new roundabout. Another one is being built at the intersection of Pottery Avenue and Tremont Street. A detour around the street widening project currently redirects eastbound traffic from Tremont to South Kitsap Boulevard, then detours to Pottery Avenue, May Street West and Roland Avenue, where motorists reconnect with Tremont.

While the intersection is almost unrecognizable now, traffic is still able to reach businesses in the area, including the busy Harrison Hospital Port Orchard/Doctors Clinic sector. Residential access also is unaffected, project planners said.

On the other end of the project, traffic normally turning north on Pottery at the Tremont intersection continues to be rerouted to Pottery via the Tremont Place side street.

The Tremont project’s second phase is scheduled for completion in November. The overall project is expected to be completed in spring 2019.

Tremont Street is the gateway arterial leading into the city of Port Orchard. Efforts have been underway since 2005 to widen the at-capacity arterial. That year, the city first received federal funds to complete the design, right-of-way acquisition and an environmental review.

The project is expanding Tremont from two lanes to four, adding two roundabouts, bike lanes and sidewalks. Utility improvements and other safety and capacity upgrades also are being made during construction, according to the city’s public works department.