Thursday, December 15, 2022

What’s the latest on the new SR 3 highway in Belfair?

By Mark Krulish

Residents and commuters alike know about the traffic challenges we have in downtown Belfair on State Route 3. Rush hour traffic clogs up the roadway. Drivers making turns on and off the highway slow down the flow of vehicles. The jams can also affect emergency response times.

We have been working on a project for a few years that will be a great benefit to Belfair – a new freight corridor through the area intended to ease traffic on the main route through the area.

In fact, the SR 3 freight corridor is among only a handful of new roadways that are planned in the entire state.

We understand this idea for a new highway around Belfair has been around for a long time. We also know many folks are wondering when the road will finally be built. We expect construction to begin in 2026 – roughly two years later than first announced – with the road opening in 2028.

A look at the proposed new highway in Belfair

Reason for later than expected start date

As part of the Move Ahead Washington funding package, the project will include two more roundabouts. The connections on these roundabouts will allow for new local roads to be built in the future by Mason County. Adding these improvements to the project means we need more time to work on the design and environmental compliance, to ensure the project looks at Complete Streets.

We fully understand some will be disappointed by this news. Please know that building a new state route is a methodical process with many requirements that need to be met. The addition of two roundabouts requires work that will extend the process.

Although these new improvements represent a later than expected timeline, the good news is the Move Ahead Washington and Connecting Washington funding coming from the state legislature ensures the lion’s share of this project, including some new improvements, is funded.

Two new roundabouts at the end of the new Belfair highway will
connect to SR 302 and reconnect to SR 3.

The main elements of the project have not changed. We plan to build a new 6-mile, two-lane alternate route parallel to SR 3. A roundabout connects the new road at the north end with Southwest Lake Flora Road in Kitsap County. At the southern end, two roundabouts will be built near North Mason High School. One connects the new roadway with SR 302 and the other brings the road back to SR 3. The single-lane roundabouts are built to accommodate vehicles of all sizes with a low, drivable curb on the center island.

The new highway will allow travelers to have a quicker ride through Belfair. There are few intersections, which shortens travel time and reduces slowing or stopping traffic.

This is a complex project with many moving parts. We know regular users of SR 3 through Belfair are hoping for relief from the daily congestion. We’re thankful for your patience as we work to bring this project to life.

If you haven’t done so, please consider signing up for email updates on state highways in Mason County including the Belfair Freight Corridor.


Unknown said...

Why not break this project up into smaller ones?

Please build the Belwood area roundabouts this summer.

WSDOT said...

Thank you for you comment. This project is still in the environmental and right-of-way phases, where we conduct all of our environmental work and acquire the landed needed to build the project. Doing our environmental, design and right-of-way work in one phase ensures the entire project will be built.

Unknown said...

The talk of this has been for a LONG, LONG, LONG TIME. Quit talking and get it done. As much TAX DOLLARS are brought into the state, I don't want to hear about money issues. Buy the land, get a dozer out there and a grader, make a hiway bypass and quit the BS. When you want something, you don't care about the homeowner's, and the small guy suffers. Most of the area you are to build the new road is probably State land, already clear cut i presume. Stop wasting our taxpayer dollars and get something accomplished.

Unknown said...

Please abandon the idea of a roundabout at Romance Hill.
thank you

Unknown said...

I'm glad you took the time to redesign to allow for future County expansion. The original plan was short-sighted. Thank you.

Unknown said...

Another 2 years is unacceptable. This community is gridlocked every morning and afternoon and dark evenings. Build another elementary school away from the highway. Where is our Mason County Commissioner Neatherlin and how does he feel about this impact to "his" community?

Unknown said...

Wasn't all the environmental and planning work done before the COVID-19 fiasco? I went to an open house at North Mason High School, where all that was presented.

So all needed property should have been purchased and the surveying done by now, with the money allocated by the state legislature.

Frankly WSDOT sounds like a student who didn't finish their term paper and wants two more years to do it,

Nicole said...

This is pushed until 2026 to begin but you keep approving housing to be built? I'm just curious how you expect the small resources Belfair currently has to hold all of this for another 3 years.

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