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Hotly debated road-widening on Southworth Drive to commence

Kitsap County road crews are ready to begin widening a “dangerous section” of Southworth Drive — over the objections of residents.   - Carole Bacon/Staff Photo
Kitsap County road crews are ready to begin widening a “dangerous section” of Southworth Drive — over the objections of residents.
— image credit: Carole Bacon/Staff Photo

Pedestrians and bicyclists will now be able to navigate along the shoreline on Southworth Drive a little more safely.

After much controversy that has spanned over the last couple of years, widening of the stretch of road from Harper Pier to Olympiad Drive, known to Kitsap County Public Works as the Southworth Road Improvement Project, will soon get underway.

“This is a dangerous section of road,” said County Communications Manager Doug Bear. “There’s no room for vehicle error, pedestrians or bicyclists.”

Work will begin at the end of this month for the $1.15 million project, which calls for the widening of the road by adding four-foot shoulders on either side.

A group of Harper residents had tried numerous times to thwart the project but has been unable to derail it.

The residents raised issues such as increased speeds and environmental concerns.

In 2008, they appealed the shoreline substantial development permit issued by the county and the shoreline conditional-use permit issued by the State of Washington, Department of Ecology.

According to documents from the Shoreline’s Hearing Board, the county contended that, “The project includes several features that are clear improvements over the existing situation. The shoulder addition will enhance safety, storm water treatment will be established for the first time in this location and this area of shoreline will now be accessible.”

Southworth Drive is one of two routes commuters use to access the Southworth Ferry.

Construction on the road is anticipated to begin May 24 and will take approximately three months to complete.

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