Rain delays Port Angeles' Tumwater Road retaining wall work until next week

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — The start of installation of a new retaining wall on a slope underlying a portion of Tumwater Road has been delayed until next week because of heavy rain, the city's project manager said Thursday.

The stretch of street between Marine Drive to the north and Fifth Street to the south closed to car traffic Monday and will remain so, though work on the new wall has been delayed, city project manager Jim Mahlum said.

“The project is in suspension until Wednesday or Thursday,” Mahlum said.

Equipment at ready

The contractor, Port Angeles-based 2 Grade LLC, already had moved in equipment in preparation for work to begin earlier this week under a $185,405 contract with the city.

“It's not really cost-effective and fair to the contractor to have them pull it out and bring it back in,” Mahlum said.

Local traffic can still access the homes near where Tumwater Road turns and becomes West Fifth Street, according to the city.

The northbound lane of Tumwater will remain open to bike and pedestrian traffic only.

Heavy rain Wednesday saturated the soil underneath the sidewalk on the east side of Tumwater Road, Mahlum explained, causing some material to slip farther down the hill.

Crews placed plastic and straw on it to help dry the slope and will wait until dryer weather is forecast before trying to begin work again, Mahlum said.

Vegetation cleared

Crews have cleared only vegetation from the hillside so far, necessary work that Mahlum said likely contributed to the soil becoming unstable in Wednesday's heavy rains.

“It was kind of, I guess, a catch-22,” Mahlum added.

The project will add a 60-foot-long wall along the hillside, to be built just down the hill from one already there.

The new wall will consist of metal piles placed vertically in the ground with roughly 6-foot lengths of wood placed in between, Mahlum explained.

A grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency will pay for 75 percent of the project, Mahlum said, with city funds and a grant from the state Emergency Management Department splitting the remaining 25 percent.

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Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jschwartz@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: March 06. 2014 8:07PM
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