The new Undie Road bypass opened Dec. 1, allowing residents and tourists easier access to part of the Olympic Peninsula. (Monte Reinders/Jefferson County Public Works)

The new Undie Road bypass opened Dec. 1, allowing residents and tourists easier access to part of the Olympic Peninsula. (Monte Reinders/Jefferson County Public Works)

Jefferson County to get funds for Undie Road

PORT TOWNSEND — Jefferson County will receive more than $1 million in reimbursement for the Undie Road project in West Jefferson County.

The money has been approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

On Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Mountlake Terrace, announced that the county would receive a $1,042,423 grant from FEMA to reimburse the county for the work done to relocate a section of Undie Road after it was heavily damaged by overflow from the Bogachiel River in November 2015.

According to Monte Reinders, county public works director, the FEMA grant will reimburse the county for 75 percent of the costs to not only construct the bypass road but also for temporary repairs on the damaged road to open for residents and visitors to the rain forest on the Bogachiel Trail.

The state will reimburse the county for another 12.5 percent of the project expenses.

Jefferson County will be responsible for only 12.5 percent of costs for the more than $1.1 million project.

According to Reinders, the new Undie Road opened for local traffic Dec. 1.

That was later than projected. Officials had hoped to complete the project by the beginning of November.

“It was significantly wetter than normal,” Reinders said. “It rains out there, but I think between September and October, the rainfall out in Forks was 47 inches. That was challenging to work through.”

The project still isn’t completed. Reinders said the new road is in a “primitive” state. However, the county will have access to $2 million in Federal Lands Access Program funds that will go toward improving the new bypass road.

“This critical funding for the relocation of Undie Road will provide safe and adequate access,” Cantwell said in a news release.

“With this funding, Jefferson County does not have to shoulder the cost of repairs alone, helping ensure recreational and economic opportunities for this region.”

The new bypass road is relocated out of the Bogachiel River channel, which flooded during a storm in November 2015, causing an erosion of land and part of Undie Road into the river.

Access has been highly restricted along the road since last November, often keeping residents from getting to their homes. The road also allows access to 37.5 miles of trails in the rain forest.

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Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Cydney McFarland can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 55052, or at cmcfarland@peninsuladailynews.com.

The new Undie Road bypass opened Dec. 1, allowing residents and tourists easier access to part of the Olympic Peninsula. (Monte Reinders/Jefferson County Public Works)

The new Undie Road bypass opened Dec. 1, allowing residents and tourists easier access to part of the Olympic Peninsula. (Monte Reinders/Jefferson County Public Works)

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