By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News
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County commissioners Tuesday approved the $13,737 purchase of a quarter-acre of land and temporary construction easement from two private property owners to widen the major collector between Gunn Road and McDonald Creek.
Similar purchase agreements have been approved in recent weeks.
“This is going to be a 2014 project,” County Engineer Ross Tyler told commissioners Monday.
In 2011, the county widened Old Olympic Highway from 28 feet to 40 feet between Spring-Matson and Gunn-Barr roads, providing 12-foot lanes with 8-foot shoulders on both sides.
Jordan Excavating of Port Angeles was awarded the contract.
Assistant County Engineer Joe Donisi said the Gunn-Barr to McDonald Creek segment will have the same dimensions as previously widened portions of Old Olympic Highway.
The county already has widened Old Olympic Highway from U.S. Highway 101 to Gunn Road to improve the safety of the thoroughfare.
The estimated cost of the federally funded Gunn-Barr to McDonald Creek segment is $1.26 million.
“We’ll have the contract out probably by the end of the year,” Tyler said.
Motorists can expect lane closures and brief delays during the construction early next spring.
“It’s not going to take them very long to do it,” Tyler said in a Wednesday telephone interview.
Eventually, the county bridge over McDonald Creek will be widened to 40 feet to match the new road width.
Tyler said it is “unfortunate” the latest widening project will overlap with the state Department of Transportation’s widening of U.S. Highway 101 between Kitchen-Dick and Shore Roads.
“If we don’t get it done in 2014, the funding that we got for it is going to sunset,” he said.
“We really tried to get it out the door in 2012.”
The state has begun widening U.S. Highway 101 to four lanes on the remaining 3.5-mile two-lane stretch of highway between Port Angeles and Sequim.
The state project, which includes the construction of two new bridges over McDonald Creek, is slated to be finished in late 2014.
Highway 101 will remain open during daylight hours.
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.