Community Government Transportation

Harborview Drive reopens in both directions

Posted on May 25th, 2022 By:

After nearly three months, traffic is flowing in both directions through downtown Gig Harbor.

Harborview Drive, the city’s main drag, was closed in the southbound direction on Feb. 28 to resume construction of a $2.2 million roundabout at its intersection with Stinson Avenue. Drivers were diverted to a long detour via Borgen Boulevard and the west side of Highway 16. Northbound vehicles continued to navigate through the project.

harborview drive paving

The base layer of asphalt for the northbound lane of Harborview Drive at Stinson was applied May 18 and both lanes received a final coat on May 19. The road reopened to two-way traffic on May 25.

Financial incentives

Southbound traffic was originally scheduled to reopen June 9, after paving had been completed. However, motivated by financial incentives from the city, contractor Active Construction finished the roadway early.

The city offered $5,000 for every working day, up to 15, that two-way traffic was restored. The road would have had to open by May 19 to receive the maximum incentive of $75,000. However, the contractor missed days because of bad weather that didn’t count so the deadline shifted to Wednesday. The $75,000 is covered by a $238,000 cushion in the project’s budget.

“Yes, they did achieve their maximum incentive as today was the day they had to have it open to have the full-incentive bonus,” said construction supervisor George Flanigan. “We gave them four days because they got rained out.”

The contractor added 10 working hours per week to reach the goal, Flanigan said.

Business slowed downtown because of the detour and merchants will be overjoyed at the return of two-way traffic, said Gig Harbor Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Miriam Battson.

“The chamber is very excited for the businesses that have been impacted by the roundabout construction, that it will be open again, so please remember to come downtown and celebrate with the businesses,” she said. “Show your love by continuing to shop local.”

The businesses have struggled, added Mary DesMarais, executive director of the Downtown Waterfront Alliance.

“We’ve heard various degrees of down so much percentage. But we’ve tried everything we can to get people down there,” DesMarais said. “We’re so appreciative of the city giving incentives to the contractor to get it done quicker because June, July and August are critical months for our businesses. I know they’re all eager to see that open and get traffic going in both directions again.”

Alternating traffic

Flaggers will direct alternating traffic during normal working hours until the project is completed. The road will be open in both directions at nights.

The project is expected to be completed by mid-July. Tasks remaining are mostly on the Eddon Boat Works property, said Public Works Director Jeff Langhelm. They include finishing the Eddon driveway, landscaping, some sidewalk improvements, installation of crosswalk lights and roadway striping.

The work involves replacing a stop sign where Stinson meets Harborview with the roundabout. It is expected to improve safety at the intersection and decrease wait times for people attempting to turn from Stinson on to Harborview.

A study commissioned by the city found that cars waited on Stinson an average of 1 minute, 48 seconds to enter Harborview. The city said the wait was projected to grow to more than 3 minutes over the next nine years.

A traffic signal was originally planned instead before the city opted for a roundabout. To meet safety requirements, a signal would require significant grading, with a closure time of at least as long. A stoplight would cost more to operate and improve Stinson wait times less, according to the city.