Elwha dam removal project cost rising to $308 million

PORT ANGELES — The three-year Elwha River dams removal project will begin in 2012 and cost an estimated $308 million, plus or minus 15 percent, the National Park Service said.

The estimated cost of removing the Elwha and Glines Canyon dams from the Elwha River has increased from the $135 million price tag cited in its last comprehensive budget estimate in 2001.

Olympic National Park spokeswoman Barb Maynes said Tuesday that when the 2001 project estimate of $135 million was revised upward to $185 million in 2004, that included only inflation estimates.

The latest estimate, completed in 2007 as part of a comprehensive project review, and announced Monday, is the first “complete, detailed estimate” of project costs since 2001, she said.

The park service previously had backed away from setting a target date for the start of dam removal to focus on building two water treatment plants for Port Angeles.

“We’ve passed the mid-point on this project, both in time and financing, and we’re looking forward to dam removal,” said Sue McGill, park acting superintendent, in the statement.

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