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Tremont upgrade possible
Port Orchards eye is on Tremont Street for the next six years, but its doubtful whether much progress on that project or any of the others in the citys recently adopted six-year transportation plan will be made.
The fact that its listed there doesnt mean its going to be funded, said city engineer Larry Curles. It just means its been identified.
To back up that statement, Curles who handles the citys public works department and much of its related grant-writing pointed out this years plan has about a 98 percent overlap with the last transportation plan. Most projects, he said, travel from plan to plan, waiting for a piece of whats become smaller and smaller funding pots.
The plans, nevertheless, are required by the Department of Transportation in order to keep track of where federal highway funds go. Currently, the city puts about $50,000 a year aside in an arterial street fund, which is used to match potential state and federal grants.
The money isnt enough to snag large grants, Curles said, but it does allow the city to make small changes or incremental improvements on long-term projects.
These small projects chip away at (the fund), but these small projects give us good improvements, he said.
For example, the city wants to make a priority of Tremont, both in terms of its width and its intersections. The road is heavily traveled during a survey done on a weekday last October, 27,600 vehicles were recorded traveling over the Blackjack Creek bridge in a 24-hour period.
Ideally, the city wants to extend Tremonts four-lane width from its current stop-point at Port Orchard Boulevard all the way to State Route 16. But because that project would likely cost millions the city doesnt currently have, city officials are looking at small ways to make the Tremont corridor more manageable. Curles said the city is now in the planning process for signal revisions at the intersection of Tremont and Sidney Avenue.
Although narrow, Sidney is heavily used between 4,000 and 5,000 vehicles use Sidney on a daily basis and many of those use the Tremont intersection as well. Curles said the city wants to put left-turn signals on Sidney to prevent back-ups. The city has already snagged approximately $25,000 in grants and matching funds, which Curles said should be more than enough to complete the project.
Meanwhile, he added, Port Orchard will continue to apply for grants to tackle the Tremont widening, major road re-pavings and other high-cost projects on the citys list.
Curles said the citys attitude emphasizes getting the project done not getting it done immediately, if rushing would create financial hardship.
The Tremont Street you see today, it took 20 years to build that road, Curles said.