Elwha Valley Road to open Tuesday with tribal ceremony
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Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
A barrier blocking access to Elwha Valley Road will be taken down Tuesday for its official opening to the public.

Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — A new access road to the Lower Elwha Klallam reservation west of town is expected to be open for use Tuesday.

The Lower Elwha plan a blessing of the $9 million Elwha Valley Road, which provides a second access to the reservation, at 12:30 p.m. that day.

After the blessing, ribbon-cutting and some remarks, the plans are for the barricades closing the road to be removed, and the first cars — a caravan of those attending — will drive the new roadway to the Lower Elwha Tribal Center for a reception in the dining room.

Clallam County will operate and maintain the Kacee Way segment, while the tribe will operate and maintain the section on tribal land, she said.

The road won't be officially opened until county commissioners vote to establish the upper section of Elwha Valley Road as a county road, adding it into the county's 500-mile network.

Commissioners will consider adding the road to the system after a public hearing at their meeting at
10 a.m. Tuesday in the commissioners' boardroom (160) at the Clallam County Courthouse, 223 E. Fourth St., Port Angeles, said County Engineer Ross Tyler.

“I have no reason to believe that won't happen,” he said.

The public is invited to the ceremony, west of the intersection of Kacee Way and Lower Elwha Road. People will be there to direct parking, said Carol Brown, tribal manager of community development.

“The people who come to the event will be the first ones to use the road,” Brown said.

The Elwha Drum Group will perform.

Clallam County Commissioner Mike Doherty is expected to attend, as well as representatives of the Lower Elwha Tribal Council and the Port Angeles City Council, Brown said.

Primary funding for the road, which will be the primary access route to the Lower Elwha Klallam reservation, came from three sources: the tribe, funds from the federal Department of Interior and money from the Federal Highway Administration, according to Brown.

The new road will connect Kacee Way at the western edge of the Port Angeles city limit to Stratton Road on the reservation.

Drivers leaving the reservation will climb a hill from the Elwha River Casino and join Kacee Way, which parallels the Olympic Discovery Trail on a city-owned right of way, and come to an intersection with the existing Lower Elwha Road just west of William R. Fairchild International Airport.

The project, which included the widening of Stratton Road, was needed to increase safety, reduce response time for emergency vehicles and provide the tribe with an adequate evacuation route during a tsunami or other natural disaster, tribal officials have said.

Currently, the only access to the reservation is the narrow and shoulder-free Lower Elwha Road.

Including shoulders, the new Elwha Valley Road is 34 feet wide.

For a ride to the ceremony or for more information, phone 360-452-8471, ext. 101.

Last modified: November 18. 2012 6:15PM
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