PORT TOWNSEND — Jefferson County commissioners approved a lower speed limit on Shine Road near the Hood Canal Bridge after hearing from residents.
Commissioners voted unanimously to cut the speed limit to 25 mph from 35 mph, from milepost 0 to 2.34.
More than 100 residents had written to county officials asking for the lowered speed limit, citing narrow road width and recreational pedestrian use and saying that drivers often use the road as an alternate to sitting in stalled traffic during Hood Canal bridge closures or to get ahead during heavy stop-and-go traffic.
The petition the county received Aug. 6 prompted an October traffic study by the county Public Works Department, which recommended that the change be made.
Sue Corbett, one of four residents who addressed the commissioners at a public hearing Monday, was thankful for the speed survey and the addition of fog lines to help define where the road’s shoulder begins.
“I believe 25 mph is appropriate,” Corbett said. “It is narrow and there are blind spots.
“I think warning signage would be helpful in spots where the road is narrow. There is a dip in the road that makes it difficult to see oncoming traffic.”
Jersey barriers have been placed in an area where the bluff has eroded. Corbett pointed out that the road and shoulder are very narrow at that point, prompting some cars to drive down the middle of the road.
“Based on the comments received, we will look into signage in the location where the jersey barriers are,” Public Works Director Monte Reinders said.
“Speed limit signs will be converted to steel posts with concrete bases. We’ll also look into a warning where there is a crest, curve and a dip.
“It is the narrowest area and we can address this with signage.”
The cost to replace existing signage is estimated to be less than $1,000.
“We brainstormed other ideas and they seemed more extreme, like doing a one-lane road,” said Commissioner David Sullivan.
“We are waiting on the state to finish work on both ends of the bridge at those intersections. That’s on-going work in collaboration with the state.
“Getting the signs is doing as much as we can at this stage.”
Reinders said the county is working with the state Department of Transportation on an advisory sign on state Highway 104 that will read, “No bridge traffic via Shine Road.”
“It’s not enforceable, but we are going to try to get something out there that discourages use of the road to cut in line,” Reinders said.
“[Undersheriff] Art Frank has had some discussions about this with State Patrol as well. It’s a hard one to prevent but we’ll do our best.
“It’s not appropriate to use that road to cut in line.”
Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Jeannie McMacken can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at [email protected]