By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News
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The federally funded, $4.8 million undercrossing of U.S. Highway 101 east of Port Angeles is still expected to open by late June.
“Things are progressing on schedule as planned,” Clallam County Engineer Ross Tyler said.
A new county road called Deer Park Loop will duck under the highway through a precast concrete arch that will be installed in March.
The underpass will eliminate left turns across the four-lane highway from Deer Park Road and Buchanan Drive.
During the installation, highway traffic will be moved onto a short detour just south of the underpass for up to 90 days.
“We're still looking at switching over to the detour not before March of 2014,” Tyler said.
The Highway 101 speed limit will be reduced from 45 mph to 25 mph through the detour.
Crews with Scarsella Bros. Inc. have dug out pits on both sides of the highway where Deer Park Loop will approach the underpass.
Once completed, the highway will reclaim its existing alignment.
Residential street reopened
Cedar Park Drive, a residential county road to the north of the project, has reopened after a temporary closure for excavation work, Tyler said.
Scarsella Bros. is the same contractor that the state hired to widen Highway 101 from Kitchen-Dick to Shore roads between Sequim and Port Angeles, and the same company that the city of Port Angeles contracted to replace the Lauridsen Boulevard bridge over Peabody Creek.
The Kent-based contractor broke ground on the county underpass project in August.
All five bids that county commissioners opened in June were well under the $7.1 million engineer's estimate.
The two-lane Deer Park Loop will have a 10-foot-wide sidewalk for pedestrians and bicyclists.
County officials have been trying to fund the project for more than a decade because of the hazards of merging vehicles darting across the highway.
There have been four fatalities on U.S. Highway 101 in the project area since 2001, according to county statistics.
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.