Long delays around Lake Crescent set to start Monday

LAKE CRESCENT — Four-hour delays are scheduled to resume Monday on U.S. Highway 101 at Lake Crescent, Olympic National Park officials said.

The delays will occur from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Thursday and will continue each week through June 13, park spokeswoman Penny Wagner said.

There will be no four-hour delay Monday, May 27, because of Memorial Day.

“The final projected completion date for the project is mid-August which is ahead of the original timeline,” Wagner said in a Wednesday statement.

“The decision to allow four-hour delays for a few weeks beyond Memorial Day will result in the project being completed sooner, with fewer impacts to the public, and achieve the best final result.”

The longer delays will extend into June, contrary to the original plan, to expedite the final phase of the $27.5 million, three-year project to reconstruct 12 miles of the highway and East Beach Road.

Specifically, the delays are needed for crews to restore the roadway width and shoulder area in front of a rock wall near milepost 229.

Park officials had previously stated that the four-hour delays would not occur between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

“It’s certainly not ideal to have the delays continue beyond Memorial Day, but the alternative is to have to wait until fall,” Wagner said in a Tuesday interview.

“It’s going to move this project along.”

Olympic National Park originally had planned to begin the four-hour delays mid-April, but it lacked a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to work below the ordinary high water mark. That permit has been received, Wagner said.

“The original plan to restore the roadway in this location did not require any in-water work below the ordinary high water mark,” park officials said in a May 8 press release.

“However, gabion basket structures that retained the road prism failed, requiring changes to the design approach and permit requirements.”

The Lake Crescent project is being managed by the Federal Highway Administration and the National Park Service.

Strider Construction Inc. of Bellingham is the contractor.

Other major work in the final phase includes guardrail installation, paving the final 2½-inches of asphalt, striping and sign replacement.

“Guardrail installation will be completed this week,” Wagner said Wednesday.

“The sign crew will begin installing replacement signs next week. Paving is set to begin June 3 and last for six to eight weeks depending on weather.

“Once paving is finished, striping and final cleanup will conclude the three-year project,” Wagner added.

“Striping is the final step that will necessitate longer than a half-hour delay in order to achieve the best result.”

During the four-hour delays, eastbound highway traffic will be open to Barnes Point. Westbound traffic will be open to East Beach Road.

Drivers can use state Highways 112 and 113 as a detour during the extended delays.

For updates and maps of the project area with current information, check the park website at tinyurl.com/PDNlakecrescentrehab.

The Federal Highway Administration project website is tinyurl.com/PDN-lakecrescentfha.

For information in real-time, check the state Department of Transportation travel alert website at www.wsdot.com/traffic/trafficalerts.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected].

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