Clallam OKs pacts for Olympic Discovery Trail

PORT ANGELES — The Olympic Discovery Trail continues to sprout up west of the Elwha River.

Clallam County commissioners Tuesday voted 3-0 to approve separate agreements with the state Department of Transportation to build a 5-mile segment between Lake Crescent and Cooper Ranch Road and to plan a 4.4-mile stretch between the Elwha River and Oxenford Road.

Federal funds are covering 86.5 percent of the cost of both projects.

“These are standard double-agency agreements that we do whenever we get federal funding,” County Engineer Ross Tyler said in a work session last week.

“We’re working our way west on the Olympic Discovery Trail.”

Lake Crescent

A federal grant will cover $876,245 of the $1.01 million construction costs of the West End segment from Lake Crescent to Cooper Ranch Road.

County road funds will cover the remaining $136,755.

County transportation program manager Rich James said the new segment is a follow-up to an adjacent project that was finished last summer.

Construction is scheduled to begin in July, according to the project prospectus.

“We built a new connection piece from the Sol Duc River down to the old [Spruce] railroad grade, and we cleaned up quite a bit of the [U.S. Forest Service] 070 Road,” James said.

“This would add funding to improve the surface of the 070 Road and then to pave it.”

Last month, the county took ownership of a 1-mile section of U.S. Forest Service Road 2918 that travels south from U.S. Highway 101 to the Sol Duc River between Fairholm Hill and Sappho.

At the 0.86-mile mark, the Olympic Discovery Trail will turn right and cross the Sol Duc River on a Merrill & Ring bridge and continue west along the Spruce railroad grade and Forest Service Road 070 to Cooper Ranch Road near Sappho.

Segment near bridge

Commissioners also approved a $100,000 agreement and prospectus for planning and surveying for the 4.4-mile section between the Elwha River Bridge and Oxenford Road, which intersects state Highway 112 between Port Angeles and Joyce.

The county will provide a $13,500 match to a $86,500 federal grant.

“The previous one was construction only, so it’s in a much more finished form,” James told commissioners last week.

“The one we’re talking about here is more in the planning stage.

“We think we’ve got a pretty good idea of where this trail, at least from the Elwha River to Oxenford, would go.

“And we’ve got a fairly good idea of where it’d go beyond west of this, too, but we want to kind of manage it in bites.”

A paved, multipurpose trail will take shape along the Highway 112 corridor from the Elwha River valley to the Joyce area.

It will skirt the north shores of Lake Crescent along the Spruce Railroad Trail and connect to completed segments at Fairholm Hill. The total cost of the 4.4-mile section between the Elwha River and Oxenford Road is $1.3 million.

Construction is planned for the summer of 2013.

Eventually, the Olympic Discovery Trail will span the North Olympic Peninsula from Port Townsend to LaPush.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-417-3537 or at [email protected]

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