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Commissioners address Burley-Olalla

Once again Burley-Olalla residents have asked the county commissioners for help.

They’re worried about the notoriously dangerous Burley-Olalla interchange, an intersection of State Route 16 that has been the scene of many accidents over the past two decades.

The Interchange is slated by the Washington State Department of Transportation to be updated and made safe in 2010. The interchange was added to WSDOT’s list of “to-do” projects by State Sen. Bob Oke (R-Port Orchard).

There have been complaints and calls to change the configuration of the interchange for the past 20 years. Residents say waiting another seven years will be too late, and two Kitsap County commissioners agree.

“I have talked to Sen. Oke and others,” South Kitsap Commissioner Jan Angel said Monday. “I’m doing what I can. It is a very dangerous intersection.”

Angel said the state seems to turn a “deaf ear” when this particular issue arises.

Angel added she has relatives in Burley-Olalla and often drives blocks out of the way when visiting them to avoid the interchange.

Commissioner Patty Lent also said she would try to help speed the state plow in the interchange renovation.

But Lent did not agree with citizen suggestions that the Burley-Olalla interchange work should be moved up at the expense of road-widening in the area of the Kitsap Mall, which happens to lie in Lent’s Central Kitsap District while Burley-Olalla falls under Angel’s purview.

“I think they should be done side by side,” Lent said.

Lent said the timing was a problem.

“It should have been done at the same time that the Narrows Bridge was expanded,” she said. “They knew they were going to add all that traffic to an already dangerous place.”

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