PORT TOWNSEND –– Jefferson County Commissioners committed $1.1 million Monday to rerouting Undie Road around a section with significant damage in West Jefferson County.
Commissioners approved a $905,310 contract with Interwest Construction Inc. of Burlington and approved spending $210,000 for access to a state Department of Natural Resources easement for the project.
Interwest is expected to start construction on the West End road project Aug. 1 and should finish by the end of this construction season, according to the contract.
The contractor will construct a new 0.86 mile gravel road. The work also includes land clearing, roadway excavation, embankment compaction, culvert installation, gravel base and surfacing, temporary erosion control, guardrails and other work.
The 0.8-mile stretch of Undie Road on the north bank of the Bogachiel River south of Forks was severely damaged during fall and winter storms and is now reduced to one barely navigable lane.
The current project is intended to create an alternate route using 1.3 miles of existing Natural Resources road and another 0.86 miles of steep terrain construction.
According to the plan, an alternate route will be constructed that will follow existing Natural Resources roads for approximately 1.3 miles, at which point a new road will be constructed for approximately 0.86 miles and connect with Undie Road beyond the damaged area.
Several options have been discussed by commissioners since the damage occurred, including considering canceling the job and forcing the 13 people living beyond the damaged section of road to fend for themselves.
Monte Reinders, public works director, has said people drive 40 to 50 trips across that stretch of road on any given day.
For the project, the county had to secure permits and property rights, a complicated and time-consuming process.
The project requires permits from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, state Natural Resources and the Jefferson County Department of Community Development.
Reinders said all signs show the county should have all the permits it needs by the end of this week.
The county still needs permission from state Natural Resources and the Army Corps of Engineers, he said.
“They’ve moved quickly to make sure we can do this project,” he said. “It was an aggressive schedule that we set and it appears that we’ve met that.”
If it does take longer than expected to get the go-ahead from state Natural Resources and the Army Corps of Engineers, the county can still start the project on the privately owned land the project crosses.
The county will pay $36,000 for land acquisition of a private parcel the project crosses.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is expected to reimburse the county at least $200,000 for work on the road, after a declaration of emergency following the storms.
Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5550, or at [email protected]