By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News
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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.
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.