Crews work Tuesday to place large boulders around the base of each of the piers of the Elwha River bridge on U.S. Highway 101 to slow the rate of erosion. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

Crews work Tuesday to place large boulders around the base of each of the piers of the Elwha River bridge on U.S. Highway 101 to slow the rate of erosion. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

Crews add rip-rap to base of Elwha River bridge piers as storm enters forecast

Occasional one-lane closures on Highway 101 are expected this week.

PORT ANGELES — Drivers can expect occasional delays this week as they cross the Elwha River bridge on U.S. Highway 101 west of Port Angeles.

Crews are placing large boulders around the base of the bridge’s piers to curtail erosion in the advent of high water during an expected storm.

Drivers might find occasional one-lane traffic over the bridge for the rest of this week, said Claudia Bingham Baker, state Department of Transportation spokeswoman, on Tuesday, but the hourlong delays drivers have experienced recently aren’t expected this week, although they might resume later.

Crews had been drilling bore samples along the bridge’s two piers to provide information on the type and depth of material under the bridge foundations.

The information gathered from the samples would help Transportation engineers decide what to do to make sure the piers are stable, according to Chris Keegan, regional operations engineer for Transportation, who said last week that the plan was to place boulders around the pier bases.

Workers have not collected all the data they need, Bingham Baker said Monday, but plans have changed because of a storm the National Weather Service has forecast to come into the area Friday.

It was decided to shore up the piers with rip-rap before the storm hits.

The bridge is safe, Keegan said last week, but the erosion around the piers “is a concern.”

Sediment from the former Lake Aldwell and high water have scoured the riverbed in which the piers sit, Keegan said, adding that the riverbed has been washed out 14 feet down since the Elwha Dam downstream was removed in 2012.

In drilling, crews are seeking bedrock, which would provide a solid foundation for stabilizing the piers.

Closures will likely begin again once drill and boring teams return to the site.

The Elwha Dam was removed along with the Glines Canyon Dam higher up the river as part of a $325 million National Park Service project to restore the Elwha River to its wild state.


Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at

More in News

Judy Willman, daughter of University of Washington rowing team member Joe Rantz, signs a movie poster for the movie “The Boys in the Boat,” a tribute to the team’s rise to winning a gold medal in the 1936 Olympics. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Spotlight on ‘The Boys in the Boat’

Story with Sequim tie has advance screening

A two-bedroom, 800-swuare-foot home is among the free plans offered by the City of Port Angeles.
Port Angeles offers free pre-approved stock plans

City hopes to reduce time, costs of housing construction

Port Angeles aims to spur development

City waives certain building permit fees for 15 housing types

Man involved in Thursday wreck dies in Silverdale

The 79-year-old Sequim man involved in Thursday’s two-vehicle wreck… Continue reading

Steve Mullensky/for Peninsula Daily News

James Kingland enjoying his favorite place in Port Townsend along the waterfront on Friday morning. Kingland goes there often to reflect on his life and for the inner peace he extr
Home Fund helps man get back on his feet

‘It allowed me to move forward without feeling like I was just lost’

EYE ON THE PENINSULA: Parks fees, public health before county board

Government meetings across the North Olympic Peninsula

Sequim High School Interact Club students pose in front of Seattle's SIFF Cinema Downtown before a screening of  "The Boys in the Boat" on Thursday.
Sequim students attend Seattle screening of “The Boys in the Boat’

Forty-five members of the Sequim High School Interact Club attended… Continue reading

Traffic backs up on Monroe Road because of an automobile wreck near the intersection with U.S. Highway 101 on Thursday. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
One wreck, two locations in East Port Angeles

Crash backs up traffic for miles Thursday morning

Golf course lease to be considered

Port Townsend City Council on verge of new pact

Clallam County adopts construction program

Twenty projects total $8.8 million in 2024

State lawmakers begin to drop bills ahead of upcoming session

Insulin, public defense funds, gift cards topics featured so far