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Thursday, September 08, 2011
Jerry Moore, WSDOT Project Engineer, 360-565-0622 (Port Angeles)
Lisa Copeland, WSDOT Communications, 360-357-2789 (Tumwater)
Low usage reduces number of vehicles offered during construction
GORST – Fewer bicyclists are using State Route 3 between Gorst and Bremerton, and that means starting Tuesday there will be fewer bicycle shadow vehicles operating on the route as part of an ongoing rock stabilization project.
The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) implemented a pilot program two weeks ago to assist bicycles through the busy corridor. SR 3, which carries 71,000 vehicles a day in both directions in this area, is temporarily restriped to four narrow lanes with no shoulders to make room for construction crews. WSDOT is monitoring the bicycle guide service, talking to bicyclists in the area and has been actively collecting data since the program began.
“The data tells us the utilization of the bicycle vehicle guides is low with an average of 11 riders per day,” said Steve Roark, WSDOT assistant region administrator for construction. “A single roving escort vehicle in place of the two we currently have operating will provide reasonable service.”
At its start, four guide vehicles – two at the north and two at the south ends of the project limits – were on-call to follow bicyclist through the one mile work zone. That number was reduced to two Aug. 31, and will be scaled back to just one vehicle beginning Tuesday, Sept. 13. Hours of operation for the shadow vehicles will remain the same, 6 to 9 a.m. and 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The shadow vehicles were developed and agreed to by a team of local officials, the biking community, WSDOT and the Washington State Patrol (WSP). According to the agreement, if the service is underutilized or if the WSP deems it unsafe, it may be stopped or modified for effectiveness.
The work zone, which includes two 10-foot lanes with no shoulders in each direction, is necessary for rock stabilization work along SR 3. Crews working on SR 3 in the Windy Point area are removing loose rock, adding rock fall fences and bolting large boulders to the slopes to protect travelers on the highway below. The project is scheduled for completion in October.
For more information about this project please visit the website at www.wsdot.wa.gov/projects/sr3/unstableslopes.
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