Why hasn't it opened by now? New Waterfront Trail route awaits state OK
By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News
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“We're waiting for the response. Hopefully, we'll get it next week,” City Engineer Mike Puntenney said Friday.
Representatives of Ecology could not be reached for comment late Friday afternoon.
The former site of the Rayonier mill, which operated for 68 years, is undergoing an Ecology-mandated cleanup designed to remove toxin-laced soil from the property.
Puntenney said the cleanup project is why Ecology is working with the city on how the new trail will run through the property.
Ecology's concerns involve how to properly sign and fence the new trail, which will cut a more direct path across the property, so trail users are not exposed to potentially contaminated soil, Puntenney explained.
“They're deciding on what safety measures need to be employed there, [and] that's what we're working with them on,” Puntenney said.
The bridge has been built as part of the $16.7 million first phase of the city's combined sewer overflow, or CSO, project, Puntenney said.
The effort seeks to increase sewer and stormwater capacity between downtown and the city's wastewater-treatment plant near the Rayonier property.
The bridge, carrying newly installed sewer and stormwater pipes between downtown and the plant, is slated to be part of a new alignment for the Waterfront Trail, Puntenney said.
The new trail path eventually will run over the bridge across Ennis Creek, closing off an 1½-mile stretch that winds through the Rayonier property, he explained.
He estimated that the bridge was ready to be open by the end of September.
“There is an awful lot of people [who are] just anxious to use the new [trail] alignment. We're kind of with them, too,” Puntenney said.
“We want to get it open as soon as possible.”
The city owns the bridge and the trail itself, Puntenney said, while Rayonier owns the underlying ground.
“We have an easement along the trail route,” he said.
Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at email@example.com.
Last modified: October 27. 2013 11:09AM