Clallam gets federal funds for Spruce trail upgrades

By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Clallam County and the state Department of Transportation have reached a deal that replaces $146,129 in local funding of Spruce Railroad Trail improvements with federal transportation enhancement dollars.

County commissioners approved the local agency agreement and prospectus with the state Tuesday, contingent on a routine legal review of the documents.

“It’s a standard local agreement,” Commissioner Mike Doherty said.

“It helps us commit money from another county.”

County Engineer Ross Tyler said another agency was unable to obligate the $146,000 in federal funds before a deadline.

Transportation Program Manager Rich James “went ahead and got it,” Tyler said.

“This was a totally locally funded project before this, and it’s the first federal dose of money,” James said in a work session prior to Tuesday’s unanimous vote.

The total cost of the three-fourths-mile widening and resurfacing project is $980,000.

The trail section, which will become part of the Olympic Discovery Trail, begins at the Lyre River trailhead on the northeast side of Lake Crescent.

It climbs an Americans with Disabilities Act-accessible grade and drops onto the historic Spruce Railroad grade on the north shore of the lake.

Once completed this fall, the trail will be 12 feet wide with 8 feet of pavement.

The new section will allow crews to access the remainder of the 3.5-mile Spruce Railroad Trail — including its historic railroad tunnels — for future construction of the Olympic Discovery Trail though the Lake Crescent corridor.

The multipurpose, ADA-compliant Discovery Trail eventually will span the North Olympic Peninsula from Port Townsend to LaPush.

“Thanks to Rich [James] and the road department for working hard to get these dollars for our community,” Commissioner Mike Chapman said.

U.S. 101 underpass

In another agreement with the state, commissioners Tuesday inked a contract supplement with Transportation that allows the county to begin construction of a long-planned underpass of U.S. Highway 101 east of Port Angeles.

The county will start building the $7.1 million underpass and new road near the Deer Park Cinema later this year.

The two-lane road and underpass will eliminate the hazardous left turns onto the four-lane highway from Deer Park Road and Buchanan Drive.

Commissioners Tuesday also approved the $9,670 purchase of 0.05 acres of private land for the widening of Old Olympic Highway between Gunn Road and the McDonald Creek bridge.

Construction on that stretch of Old Olympic Highway is planned for next year.

In other news from the weekly board meeting, Annette Lindamood and Margaret Witt were reappointed to the Olympic Area Agency on Aging Advisory Council.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at rollikainen@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: April 02. 2013 5:47PM
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