MARROWSTONE ISLAND — The power was cut to island residents Wednesday for line and pole work done by the Jefferson County Public Utility District, the first step in building a new bridge spanning Kilisut Harbor west of Marrowstone Island.
Beginning this summer, crews working for the state Department of Transportation will begin construction of a 440-foot, two-lane concrete girder bridge.
The project, spearheaded by the North Olympic Salmon Coalition and funded by its partners, aims to restore historic tidal channels and fish runs between southern Kilisut Harbor and Oak Bay.
The existing causeway has been identified as a barrier to adult and juvenile chum, chinook and steelhead salmon and is part of Transportation’s Fish Passage Barrier Removal Program.
Bridge construction is expected to begin mid-summer.
Jimmy Scarborough, the senior electrical engineer with the public utility district (PUD), said contractors reset a handful of temporary poles to move power lines from the south side of Flagler Road to the north side in preparation for bridge construction.
“The reason we have to shift our lines to the other side of the road is because they are putting a temporary bridge to the island while they are working on the permanent one,” Scarborough said.
PUD crews installed five poles with two being temporary and strung new wire on the temporary poles causing the island-wide power outage. Scarborough said the project was going smoothly and was on time.
“Once the bridge is in, we will convert this section of line underground and attach it to the underside of the bridge.”
Scarborough said as soon as the PUD is finished with the temporary power lines, temporary above-ground water lines will be installed. Construction is anticipated to begin in the next few weeks.
“There will be a temporary water outage for that project as it switches from old to new pipe,” he said. “I don’t anticipate that disruption to be as extensive as this power outage.
“If everything goes smoothly, when we go to the permanent solution for both water and power, we won’t need to have an additional outage,” Scarborough said. “We are trying not to have another disturbance for the residents.”
The PUD took full advantage of the island-wide outage and had line crews out doing maintenance work while a tree-trimming crew took care of some of the trouble spots.
“We tried to make the best of a worst situation for the residents,” Scarborough said.
Scarborough was enthusiastic about the PUD’s role in the Fish Passage Barrier Removal Program.
“It’s a cool project. We get to build our lines, the residents get a new bridge, and hopefully the salmon will flourish in Mystery Bay.”
Jefferson County Reporter Jeannie McMacken can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at [email protected]