Clallam County might sign onto Port Angeles letter to DOT

PT council sent state similar letter earlier

PORT ANGELES — The Clallam County commissioners are considering signing onto a letter the Port Angeles City Council is sending to the state Department of Transportation asking the agency to firm up which four consecutive summer weekends the Hood Canal Bridge will be closed.

Commissioner Mark Ozias said at the commissioners’ Monday work session that he recently had a short meeting with Port Angeles City Manager Nathan West, Port Townsend City Manager John Mauro and Jefferson County Commissioner Kate Dean.

“They continue to be pretty concerned about a lack of specificity with regard to the actual dates that the Hood Canal Bridge is going to be closed,” he said.

Steve Roark, Department of Transportation (DOT) Olympic Region administrator, told the county commissioners at their March 13 work session that the agency hopes to have firm dates locked down by early April.

But Ozias said Monday, “The dates that were presented at our work session last week were apparently the third different set of dates that have been presented over the course of three separate public outreach meetings.”

So, West is going to draft a letter asking DOT to “in some way, shape or form to firm up those dates as quickly as possible” so others can plan around them, he said.

Commissioner Mike French asked if the commissioners wanted to join the city’s letter.

“The quicker we know, the better we will be,” said county Commissioner Randy Johnson. “And so I’m kinda where Mike is with that.”

Said Ozias: “I think that’s going to depend on the language and whether it is language we feel strongly about or not but certainly I figure if it focuses on trying to provide some certainty on the dates that would likely be something we would sign onto.”

Ozias is hopeful the commissioners will have a draft letter to review at their work session this coming Monday, Ozias said. Then it could be on the regular meeting’s consent agenda on Tuesday.

The Port Townsend City Council sent a letter earlier this month asking DOT to have fewer but longer closures of the Hood Canal Bridge this summer and to provide ferry service when it is closed for repairs.

The bridge is currently scheduled to be closed from 11 p.m. Friday to 4 a.m. Monday on four weekends in July and August, weather permitting.

DOT has been sent a list of 19 events in Clallam and Jefferson counties between the Sequim Irrigation Festival, which is set for May 6-7 with potential attendance of 2,000 people — 250 from out of town — to the Port Townsend Film Festival, set for Sept. 21-24, with potential attendance of 10,000 people, 6,000 from out of town.

It also included Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day weekends, with potential attendance of 50,000 people.

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Reporter Brian Gawley can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at brian.gawley@sound publishing.com.

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