Hurricane Ridge Road work to close route in mornings starting May 19

By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News

OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK — The road to Hurricane Ridge will be closed from sunset until 10 a.m. Sundays through Thursdays for three weeks beginning next week to allow crews to lay fiber optic cable and clean culverts.

Drivers also may be delayed by work crews between 10 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. on those days.

Drivers should use caution and be alert for flaggers and workers on the road, Olympic National Park spokeswoman Barb Maynes said.

Hurricane Ridge Road south of Port Angeles — which had been opened for daily 24-hour access since early April — will be open 24 hours a day from 10 a.m. Thursdays through Sundays at sunset.

It also will be open Memorial Day, May 26.

Park maintenance crews will install 12 miles of fiber optic cable from Heart o' the Hills to the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center using a conduit installed during the 2008 Hurricane Ridge Road repaving project.

The $85,000 fiber optic cable project is expected to improve phone and digital communications from Hurricane Ridge, improve the park's two-way radio system and reduce the park's annual utility costs by about $19,000, Maynes said.

Spread between budgets

The cost of the project, which is expected to be complete by June 6, has been spread between the 2013 and 2014 budgets, Maynes said.

It will pay for itself within five years, she added.

Currently, phone and minimal data connections are provided through a microwave system that by modern standards is slow and unreliable and has limited capacity.

The microwave system costs the park approximately $12,000 per year in lease fees, and the new cable will allow relocation of a key component of the park's two-way radio system from a leased site outside the park to the Ridge, saving $6,600 per year.

The fiber optic project is timed to coincide with the park's annual spring cleaning of the ditches and culverts along Hurricane Ridge Road.

“We appreciate our visitors' and community's patience as we finish these two very important projects,” said Olympic National Park Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum.

Hurricane Ridge Road winds 17 miles from Port Angeles to Hurricane Ridge, providing access to mountain scenery and the mile-high subalpine environment at Hurricane Ridge.

The Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center, including exhibits, restrooms and the gift shop, will be open, though some services may be limited on weekdays due to reduced electrical power.

Full services will be offered on weekends and the Memorial Day holiday.

For more information about visiting Olympic National Park, including early morning alternatives during the project period, visit the park website at www.nps.gov/olym.

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Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at arwyn.rice@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: May 15. 2014 7:27PM
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