U.S. Highway 101 detour at Deer Park expected to be gone in mid-May
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Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Excavation continues on an underpass beneath U.S. Highway 101 in the Deer Park area east of Port Angeles on Thursday.

By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — The abrupt detour of U.S. Highway 101 just east of Port Angeles will be gone in mid-May, according to Clallam County officials.

The county is building a $4.8 million underpass that dips beneath the highway near Buchanan Drive at the eastern top of the Morse Creek ravine.

The short, slow-speed detour is in place to allow the contractor, Scarsella Bros. of Kent, to move dirt and install a concrete arch tunnel for the underpass.

Installation of the pre-cast tunnel structure will begin in about a week, officials said.

Once the underpass is in place, crews will backfill the area and pave the highway to its original alignment.

25 mph speed limit

The speed limit will be restored from its temporary 25 mph to 45 mph.

“The bypass that we have in place now is going to be out of there and back on the highway by mid-May,” Assistant County Engineer Joe Donisi told county commissioners last week.

“Overall, the project's on schedule and on budget.”

The project is scheduled to be finished in September, Donisi said.

A new county road called Deer Park Loop will go through the underpass to connect Deer Park Road to the south and Buchanan Drive to the north.

The idea is to eliminate left turns across the four-lane highway where four fatalities have occurred since 2001.

Deer Park Loop will be a two-lane road with a 10-foot-wide sidewalk with access to the Olympic Discovery Trail.

The scenic overlook on the north side of the highway will be upgraded as part of the project, which is funded by state, local and federal funds.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at rollikainen@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: March 22. 2014 5:36PM
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