State ramping up for work on dangerous SR-302 highway


Irene Torres, KP News

Last month, Washington State Department of Transportation workers made some highway repairs after an accident in the Wauna curves area. Next year, the WSDOT will commence work on a major project designed to help make the heavily traveled Key Peninsula highway safer for drivers. Photo by Ed Johnson, KP News

Another recent accident in the vicinity of the Wauna curves brought out road crews for shoulder repairs and gave drivers a glimpse of major roadwork slated for Key Peninsula’s highway in 2014.

Steve Fuchs, project engineer with the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), said the highway has been identified as having many accidents.

He said the goal of the upcoming project is to increase safety by reducing the “frequency and severity of the accidents by reducing congestion.”

The $6.5 million “Key Peninsula Highway to Purdy Vicinity Safety and Congestion” project will be funded by the Transportation Partner Account.

Fuchs said there are two main intersections of focus. One is at 118th Avenue and SR-302, where the state will add left-turn lanes to try and reduce some of the major left-turn accidents. The other area of interest will be at the west end of the Purdy sand spit, at Goodrich Court and Goldman Drive, where they will also be adding left-turn lanes.

“We are trying to remove a lot of the fixed objects in the right of way –– mostly trees, so where we can (where wetlands aren’t present) we will remove trees so when people leave the roadway they aren’t wrapped around a tree,” he said.

When construction delays start up next year, Fuchs said he is hopeful that drivers will be as patient as possible.

According to Fuchs, there are also plans to install six pullout areas on the shoulder where vehicles can clear the roadway to allow emergency vehicles to pass. Each pullout will be 120 feet long.

The state does not have the budget to widen shoulders all along the 6.23-mile project, but Fuchs said the Legislature appropriated some money because they recognized the need to make some safety improvements.

“I think we have a very solid justification where we plan these improvements based off a roadway safety audit completed in 2009 in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration and the State Patrol,” he said. “We also did a speed survey and were able to reduce the speed from 50 to 45 mph.”

Fuchs plans to advertise the project near the end of this year, and construction will start in the spring. He said it’s a one-season job and construction should be done by fall 2014.

Fuchs attends Key Peninsula Community Council meetings for quarterly updates on state road projects.

For information, call (360) 570-6600. A full project description is available at