Jefferson County commissioners approve Transportation Improvement Program

The six-year program is a rolling plan that is updated annually and prioritizes the transportation projects that the county plans to complete in the coming year.

PORT TOWNSEND — Jefferson County commissioners approved the 2017-2022 Transportation Improvement Program during a public hearing Monday.

The six-year program, presented by officials from the Public Works Department at Monday’s meeting, is a rolling plan that is updated annually and prioritizes the transportation projects that the county plans to complete in the coming year.

On the top of this year’s list is a new overlay on Center Road near Chimacum, the Lake Quinault South Shore Road repair, repairs on Dosewallips Road after a slide earlier this year, a Federal Lands Access Program-funded repair on Upper Hoh Road and Olympic National Park and phase one of the Rick Tollefson Memorial Trail connecting H.J. Carroll Park to Old Hadlock Road.

However, many projects will be based on funding availability. Many of Jefferson County’s transportation projects rely on state or federal grants for funding.

“The TIP isn’t supposed to be a grant hunting program, but with limited local funds that’s part of it,” said Jefferson County Public Works Director Monte Reinders.

The plan projects that 92 percent of the projects will be funded by state or federal grants.

So far, only 38 percent of the $20,306,734 needed for the 2017-2022 plan has been secured, according to the Public Works Department.

Thirty percent of that funding comes from the federal government and 61 percent from the state. The county is only responsible for $1,596,000, or about 8 percent so far.

As far as projects go, 40 percent of the plan is dedicated to road and intersection improvements throughout the county.

One of the projects that was discussed was the intersection of Discovery and Jacob Miller roads, which has been shown to be a high-accident area.

According to Reinders, public works hopes to start discussing that with officials from the city of Port Townsend in the coming weeks.

Another 34 percent is projects for non-motorized transportation.

“That’s impressive for a county of this size and for a rural county,” said Zoe Lamp, the public works transportation planner.

Public works officials also said that the plan doesn’t necessarily account for emergency projects — many of which happen during the winter due to high water levels in the rivers and increased erosion and flooding along roadways.

Between November 2015 and this May, the Public Works Department spent roughly $795,000 on three emergency sites.

“Funding strongly influences the projects that we can complete,” said Lamp.

The proposed plan was passed unanimously and with no public comment.

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Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Cydney McFarland can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5550, or at [email protected].

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