Getting You There

​ It takes a lot of work to maintain the 915 miles of roadway that run throughout Kitsap County. 'Getting You There' is the story behind the road system in Kitsap County. The story has three parts. We encourage you to read all three.

Our History highlights how Public Works has been 'Getting You There' since 1857. You'll learn about the early road system and how it was adapted through the years.

What We Do looks at how we help maintain and improve roads for better mobility and safer travels.

Our Future takes an inside look at the costs to maintain the road system, where the money comes from, and how to ensure adequate funding to sustain our level of service.


Getting You There story


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  Snow and Ice Control

Snow and Ice Control = ~$70.00/hour for one employee in a plow truck during a regular 8-hour shift. The $70.00/hour cost does not include materials.

Planning makes plowing efficient

  • Crews follow a priority plan for efficiency.
  • Priority 1 roads serve schools, hospitals, employment and economic centers. They are cleared in the first 36 hours after the snow stops falling.
  • Priority 2 roads are minor arterial and collectors that connect to Priority 1 Roads. They are cleared in the next 36 hours.
  • About 600 of the over 900 miles of County-maintained roadways are Priority 1 and 2.

Cleaning up after the storm costs money too!

  • For each ton of sand applied we pick up about 1.2 tons of contaminated material.
  • Disposal fees for this waste is about $68 per load (roughly 12 tons).

Examples of cost of materials:

  • Sand is approximately $8 per ton. We use about 50-2000 tons per season depending on the severity of the snow and ice events. 
  • Salt is approximately $150 per ton. We use about 50-450 ton per season depending on the severity of snow and ice events.

During the December 2021 - January 2022 snow event Kitsap County received 7-9 inches of snow followed by 4 days of sub-zero temperatures. Here are the numbers:

    • 5,776 hours of road crew time
    • 695 tons of salt and 7,000 tons of sand to clear the ice
    • 13,089 gallons of diesel fuel was used
    • Road crews plowed and treated nearly 46,000 miles
    • $470,000 cost to Public Works to respond to this one storm event

  Down Stop or Yield Sign

​Down Stop Sign or Yield Sign  

  • It can cost up to $300 to replace a broken sign. Signs also need regular maintenance to keep them reflective and clear to see. Last year over 8,000 signs needed maintenance.
  • There are over 20,000 signs on county roads. 
  • Five sign specialists patrol the 900 miles of county roads and clean, install, and repair these signs.  
  • The yearly sign program costs from $400,000 to $500,000.

Additional Information

Learn more about Road Signs

  Chip Seal

Chip Sealing

  • The average base cost of chip sealing is about $30,000 per roadway mile.
  • Chip sealing costs approximately one-third the cost of a typical asphalt overlay per mile of roadway.
  • Chip sealing extends the life of the road by 10 years to 20 years, depending on the original condition and use.

About Chip Seal

  • "Chip Sealing” is a common pavement preservation practice used to extend pavement life. It is a two-part application of applying oil and a layer of rock.
  • The primary function of chip seal is to seal the existing asphalt surface from water intrusion into the asphalt structure and underlying subgrade material.  Applied oil works its way into cracks and voids within the asphalt surface,  preventing further decay. The rock applied on top of the oil protects the newly placed oil and prolongs the life of the roadway.
  • All county roads are rated to prioritize projects. Ratings consider the overall condition of the roadway, patches, cracking, raveling, potholes, edge deterioration, and other signs that repair is needed.
  • Chip seal also adds a friction surface to the roadway, which is beneficial in snow and ice conditions, assisting vehicles to remain on the roadway.
  • Recycled asphalt can be used as chip rock reducing costs.
  • An average of 25 miles of roadway is chip sealed each year.

Learn more


About Guardrails
  • "The primary purpose of all roadside barriers (including guardrail) is to reduce the probability of an errant vehicle striking a fixed object or terrain feature off the traveled way that is less forgiving than striking the barrier itself." The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)
  • Kitsap County follows federal requirements for where and how guardrails are installed. While the purpose of a guardrail is to reduce the probability of a vehicle going off the roadway and hitting a fixed object (see above), guardrails won't always protect you. In 2013, 8% of fixed object crash deaths occurred striking guardrail. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Highway Loss Data Institute
  • Guardrails are more complex than simple metal rail in that there are strict height requirements and that they require crashworthy end treatments.
  • The first 30 feet or more of the guardrail is an end treatment designed to lessen impact if hit directly.
  • We do not install guardrail to protect private property unless it meets federal warrants for protection from fixed objects.
  • The "Clear Zone" is a safety zone laterally out from the traveled way that is determined by the speed of the road and the volume of traffic.  If there are objects in the Clear Zone, we make the determination if guardrail is needed.
  • There are over 20 miles of guardrail along County roadways.
  • The County has over 500 segments of guardrail, this includes two end treatments per segment.

The Costs

  • Guardrails frequently require repair. On average, the County spends about $42,000 per year for repairs. If the party who hits the guardrail can be identified, the County files a claim against the motorist and/or their insurance company.
  • Much of the County's guardrail system is old and obsolete. To install new guardrail and replace the old, we set aside about $250,000 every other year for the work. To supplement the budget, we apply for safety grants each year.
  • Guardrail with two end treatments can cost up to $100 per foot (typical) for a contractor to install.  A 200-foot run of guardrail would cost $10,000. 
  • The County has over $10,000,000 in guardrail assets on County roads.

  Salt Brine

About Salt Brine 

  • Salt brine is a mixture of road salt and water. The salt content is 23.3% per gallon of solution.  
  • Salt brine is used for anti-icing treatment applied to the road before an event. This is done when a dry period exists before the storm. 
  • Salt brine is used for de-icing during a storm to remove the hard bond of snow and ice to the road surface. 
  • Salt brine is used for "pre-wetting". This process applies salt brine to granular sand as it is applied to roadways. Pre-wetting the sand with salt brine allows the sand to melt snow and ice at a faster rate than applying just sand. It also improves the effectiveness of sand at lower temperatures.  
  • Salt brine saves time by making plowing efforts more efficient. It saves money by reducing the amount of sand used during storms. Salt brine can cut two to three days off the time needed to clean up after a storm. 


  • Production costs including labor, material, and equipment to make salt brine is $0.26 per gallon.  

Cost to apply salt brine

  • One truck/driver in a 6-hour shift can apply 480 gallons of brine on 38 miles of roadway at a cost of $16.00 per mile.    

  Pothole Repair  

Pothole Repair

About Pothole Repair  

  • Over 2,300 potholes were repaired in 2019. 

  • Potholes are repaired year-round using a cold patch asphalt that can be used at any temperature and stored in-house.  
  • Potholes are often indicative of larger problems that crews will address during resurfacing or stand-alone maintenance with a full-depth repair. 


  • It costs about $70 per pothole repair. This includes materials, labor and equipment.