Consultants hired for Quilcene safety project on U.S. Highway 101; next step is community meeting
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Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News
Linda Herzog, right, discusses the Quilcene Complete Streets project with consultants Sandy Fischer and Scott Spencer, center. Also pictured in the background at left is Cass Brotherton, whose family owns and operates the Quilcene Village Store.

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

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QUILCENE — A plan to increase traffic safety on U.S. Highway 101 as it runs through Quilcene will begin with a public meeting in November to solicit ideas from community members now that the county has hired consultants.

The meeting has not yet been scheduled but will be sometime next month, according to Eric Kuzma, an engineer for the Jefferson County Department of Public Works.

“The most important part of the process is the front end where the community gets to help design the changes because they know best,” said Linda Herzog of Quilcene, who has spoken in support of the project.

On Monday, the Jefferson County commissioners approved two contracts with consultants to develop a design for eliminating traffic hazards and encourage people to observe the 35 mph speed limit as they pass through town on Highway 101.

“I'm totally delighted that the county has taken action to approve these contracts and get us rolling,” Herzog said.

A 1.2-mile stretch of the highway running through town is marked by several unsafe segments and blind spots where wrecks could easily occur, Herzog said.

The design process is subsidized by a $884,165 grant given by the state Department of Transportation in June 2012.

The commissioners approved two contracts Monday.

Consultant contracts

The Fischer-Bouma Partnership, Bainbridge Island, is to receive $18,000 for landscape architecture and design services.

Civic engineering firm SJC Alliance, Olympia, will receive $8,430 to develop the implementation of the plan.

The first step is to conduct a public meeting where consultant Sandy Fischer will present some possible ideas and use them as a starting point for the discussion.

After the contract approval, three consultants — Fischer, Jeff Bouma and SCJ's Scott Sawyer — visited Quilcene to take an initial look at portions of the street that need improvement, take photographs and walk the area “so we can come to the public meeting with some graphical examples of connectivity and character,” Fischer said.

Examples

Two examples of unsafe areas are a curve just south of Quilcene School with limited visibility and an area in front of Peninsula Foods, 294682 Highway 101, where store customers often make an unsafe U-turn, according to Tom Brotherton, whose family owns and operates the Quilcene Village Store.

“We are sitting right on Highway 101 and a million cars go through here each year,” Brotherton said.

“People think they can go fast, and when they come around a curve with limited visibility, it can cause all kinds of safety problems.”

Kuzma said the initial design period will take three or four months, after which time Sawyer will develop a plan to implement the ideas.

Permitting and securing funds will follow, with construction expected to begin in the summer of 2017 and project completion that fall, he said.

“People are obviously excited about it, and we are happy to be working with a passionate community on a project that impacts their lives,” Bouma said.

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Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or cbermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: October 26. 2015 5:28PM
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