By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News
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“I know it's been a long way, but we're really excited about finally getting it open,” City Engineer Mike Puntenney said.
Thursday's ribbon-cutting ceremony for the bridge, built as part of the city's combined sewer overflow, or CSO, project, will run from 11 a.m. to noon Thursday at the bridge, which is accessed via the north end of Ennis Street.
The ceremony also will mark the opening of a new stretch of Olympic Discovery Trail — called the Waterfront Trail as it runs through Port Angeles — across a portion of the former Rayonier mill site, Puntenney said.
The previous 1½-mile stretch of Discovery Trail running south around the mill property will be closed off in favor of the new stretch, which extends directly across the Rayonier property, Puntenney said.
The trail and bridge could have been open earlier, Puntenney said, but the state Department of Ecology required modifications to trail fencing and signage to make sure no one was exposed to potential contamination on the mill site.
“We had to do these last modifications, and if we didn't have to do those, it might have been open [in the] December to January time frame,” Puntenney said, adding that the city also worked with Rayonier since the company still owns the property.
“We definitely worked cooperatively between all the parties.”
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.
The bridge, which cost $1,012,000, is part of the $16.7 million first phase of the city's “combined sewer overflow” project and was built wide to carry three pipes — 36 inches, 30 inches and 24 inches in diameter — across Ennis Creek, Puntenney said.
The pipes lead between downtown and a 5 million-gallon tank on the former mill site that will be used to store stormwater and sewage until it can be treated by the nearby city water treatment plant.
The overall goal of the city's project is to increase sewer and stormwater capacity between downtown and the city's plant and reduce the amount of untreated sewage and stormwater flowing into Port Angeles Harbor during heavy rain events.
Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.