By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News
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Under a $907,567 contract signed last week, Jordan Excavating Inc. of Port Angeles will widen later this year a 0.51-mile segment of Old Olympic Highway between Gunn Road and McDonald Creek, making the lanes 12 feet wide and adding 8-foot shoulders.
On Tuesday, county Commissioners Mike Chapman and Mike Doherty approved a split-cost deal with the Clallam County Public Utility District to set back utility poles for the project. Commissioner Jim McEntire was on vacation.
The county and PUD will evenly split the costs for the poles, estimated to be under $290,000.
The PUD is expected to begin moving the poles in June.
Construction is expected to be finished by October.
Other segments of Old Olympic Highway have been widened to 40 feet in recent years as part of a safety improvement for the arterial between Port Angeles and Sequim.
One driver questioned why the project is being done now.
“Why not push this back a year after they finished 101?” Lynn Mullins of Sequim asked in phone calls to the Peninsula Daily News on Thursday.
The state’s $27 million widening of 3.5 miles of U.S. Highway 101 between Kitchen-Dick and Shore roads is slated to be finished by the end of this year.
Some drivers have used Old Olympic Highway as an alternate route during the Highway 101 work.
Clallam County Engineer Ross Tyler said Tuesday the Old Olympic Highway project has been long planned and that the county received an unexpected funding boost from the state to do it this year.
The work is funded by a $990,000 grant from the state Rural Arterial Program.
Tyler said funds were turned back by another county that could not use them this year.
Field trees will stand
Part of the project calls for removal of a row of aging poplar trees near the Agnew Soccer Fields. The row of evergreen trees behind the poplars will remain, Tyler said.
Doherty noted that the trees work well to stop Agnew’s hallmark high winds from affecting play on the soccer fields.
Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.