By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News
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Commissioners approved a resolution to add the East Owl Creek underpass near Kitchen-Dick Road to the county’s 2012-2017 transportation planning document by a 3-0 vote after a public hearing Tuesday.
The county is the agent for the Clallam Transit project to build a pedestrian-safe crossing of the soon-to-be-widened highway for transit passengers.
“This money is Clallam Transit money that we’re talking about here, but the county needs to put it in its TIP [transportation improvement program], and we would need to administer the project,” Clallam County Transportation Program Manager Rich James said at the hearing.
Federal funds will account for $415,000 of the $480,000 construction cost. The remaining $65,000 comes from Transit, according to the road document.
James and others at the county have been working to get the 130-foot crossing onto the state’s bidding documents for the $90 million widening of U.S. Highway 101 from Kitchen-Dick to Shore roads between Port Angeles and Sequim.
The 3.5-mile widening project will begin this winter with construction of a new bridge over McDonald Creek.
Once completed in October 2014, eastbound and westbound traffic will have two lanes each. Traffic will be separated by a 32-foot median to reduce the risk of head-on wrecks.
“They [the state Department of Transportation] are out to bid on this project, so we will be adding this [underpass] item as an addendum to their contract,” James said.
“It’s probably going to go out next week or the week after,” he added.
“If we’re able to accomplish that, we will get a bid price from the bidders for this pedestrian underpass, and then the decision will be made, depending on how much the bid price comes back, on whether it will be built or not.”
The Clallam Transit board will hold a special meeting at 1 p.m. Monday to consider committing grant funds to the underpass project.
The meeting will be held at the Clallam Transit System building, 830 W. Lauridsen Blvd., Port Angeles.
“Our board will in fact decide whether we can financially commit to this or not,” Clallam Transit General Manager Terry Weed said in a telephone interview.
“Based on the DOT criteria, they need this decision by next week.”
No opposition to the underpass was raised in the county’s public hearing, one of four that the board held Tuesday.
Commissioners approved quarterly budget emergencies and two rezones, neither of which have associated building permits, in the other public hearings.
A half-acre parcel off U.S. 101 just east of Port Angeles was changed from open space overlay zone to urban neighborhood commercial.
Three adjacent properties totaling 100 acres in the foothills south of Sequim were changed from commercial forest zone to commercial forest/mixed-use.
No opposition to the rezones or the budget changes was raised in the public hearings.
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.