Soggy March delays work on Tumwater Road retaining wall in Port Angeles
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Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Plastic sheeting covers the spot Thursday where a retaining wall at the top of Tumwater Road in Port Angeles is being rebuilt.

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Following a month's worth of rain delays, crews contracted with the city hope to begin work on an additional retaining wall on a slope underlying Tumwater Road on Monday, the city's project manager said this week.

The stretch of Tumwater between Marine Drive to the north and Fifth Street to the south had been closed to car traffic in March while crews waited for dry weather, city project manager Jim Mahlum said Wednesday.

“Looks like the forecasts are pretty good for next week,” Mahlum said.

The project, to be completed under a $185,405 city contract with Port Angeles-based 2 Grade LLC, was originally expected to be done by March 31.

Equipment was moved to the area the first week of March.

Rains have saturated the slope so much that working on it could cause the hillside to slip, Mahlum said.

“We're erring on the side of caution,” he said.

Mahlum said once work begins, barring any more weather delays, crews should be done in about a month.

Equipment on site

The delays have not cost the city additional money, Mahlum said, though construction equipment is still on site.

“It would have cost more to mobilize [the equipment] out and bring them back in,” Mahlum said, explaining why the road remained closed when work was not being done.

Local traffic can 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.

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.

The project, which has been on the city's capital improvements list since at least 2009, was prompted by hillside material sliding down the hill below the existing wall after heavy rain, Mahlum has said.

Neither Tumwater Road nor the wall was compromised, but the slide illustrated the need for additional support along the hillside, he said.

Grants, city funds

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 Division splitting the remaining 25 percent.


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

Last modified: April 03. 2014 7:38PM
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