Comment period opens for Elwha River bridge project

Environmental assessment presented online

PORT ANGELES — Comment is being accepted now on an environmental assessment of a project to replace the Elwha River Bridge on U.S. Highway 101 west of Port Angeles.

The state Department of Transportation’s (DOT) $35.5 million project would build a new Elwha River Bridge that would be 40 feet wide and accommodate two 12-foot lanes with two 8-foot shoulders, replacing the current bridge, which is 28 feet wide.

Additionally, a new alignment with U.S. Highway 101 and Olympic Hot Springs Road would create a more gentle curve with a higher design speed of 40 mph, instead of the present 25 mph, at the east end of the bridge.

Construction is expected to begin in spring 2022 with use starting in fall 2023.

Comment will be accepted until noon Aug. 18 through a form in an online open house — used in place of an in-person presentation — at engage.wsdot.wa.gov/elwha-river-bridge. DOT will respond to written or recorded public comments as part of the National Environmental Policy Act.

Comments also can be submitted by phone at 360-570-6699 or by postal mail to WSDOT, Olympic Region Environmental Office; c/o Jeff Sawyer, WSDOT Environmental Services Manager; PO Box 47440; Olympia, WA 98504-7440.

To receive a paper copy of the assessment, call 360-570-6699.

The bridge is the major link between the Port Angeles and Forks, originally built in 1926.

The wider bridge is expected to create a more comfortable crossing for travelers and provide adequate shoulder room for bicyclists and pedestrians, as well as correct a problem.

Dam removal ending in 2014 changed the course and flow of the Elwha River. That led to significant erosion around the bridge foundations, which were found to be on gravel, not in bedrock. As a result, DOT engineers estimated the riverbed around the bridge’s piers has lowered 14 feet.

DOT has installed almost 5,000 tons of riprap around both piers to help prevent further erosion.

Additional bridge monitoring using tilt meters, crack meters, water flow meters, surveys and visual observations have occurred. So far, the bridge has been deemed structurally sound.

After reviewing seven different design alternatives and discussing them with residents, businesses and local jurisdictions, DOT is moving ahead with what was Alternative 7.

The environmental assessment compares that alternative only with a no-action alternative to gauge environmental effects.

The plan also would provide Transit bus stops on both the west and east ends of the bridge and restore the parking access that was there before with a gravel parking lot.

DOT is working with the Federal Highway Administration, Department of Interior, Olympic National Park, Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, Department of Ecology, Department of Fish and Wildlife, Army Corps of Engineers and area jurisdictions.

________

Executive Editor Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3530 or at [email protected].

More in News

Volunteers sought for hospice support

Assured Hospice of Clallam and Jefferson Counties is seeking… Continue reading

West End scholarships

The West End Youth and Community Club has awarded $250… Continue reading

Volunteers sought for meal delivery

Olympic Community Action Programs’ Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP)… Continue reading

Jefferson Healthcare relaunches nurse consult line for COVID-19 symptoms

Case numbers increasing in both Peninsula counties

Grant to expand behavioral health services

NOHN gets $3,3 million for project

Transit examines future plans

More routes, connections considered

Northwest Maritime Center Executive Director Jake Beattie acknowledged the past 16 months' trials during the Navigator Night Out. Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News
Maritime Center event highlights teens’ successes

Students get involved in solo sail, boat project, jobs program

Weekly flight operations scheduled

There will be field carrier landing practice operations for aircraft… Continue reading

<strong>Photos by Keith Thorpe</strong>/Peninsula Daily News
Top: Kathryn Kudron of Port Angeles parades with Gavin, a great dane, during judging Saturday at Carrie Blake Park in Sequim. Above: Michael Bryant of Everett brushes the coat of G.G., a Havanese, prior to entering the show ring at the Hurricane Ridge Kennel Club’s All-Breed Show and Agility Trials. The event, which continues today at 
8 a.m., brought in hundreds of dogs from across the region for the American Kennel Club-sanctioned show.
Dog show

Michael Bryant of Everett brushes the coat of G.G., a Havanese, prior… Continue reading

Most Read