Park reopening two roads; Olympic Hot Springs Road remains closed

OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK — Olympic National Park’s Hoh Rain Forest is once again accessible to motor vehicles after being closed by storm damage in mid-October, and Mora Road is expected to reopen by noon Saturday, but Olympic Hot Springs Road remains closed.

Upper Hoh Road is reduced to one-lane travel at the damaged location about 5.5 miles inside the park boundary, said Barb Maynes, Olympic National Park spokeswoman.

The inbound lane was partially undercut by the Hoh River, she said.

Park crews and contractors have stabilized the river bank and added safety barriers and signs.

Mora Road had been closed since mid-October to provide safe access for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to repair the Rialto Beach jetty.

Olympic Hot Springs Road remains closed to motor vehicles because of safety concerns related to frequent intermittent flooding of the road, Maynes said.

A bridge was installed over a 90-foot washout near the Elwha Campground.

Park officials had expected to reopen the road to vehicular traffic at least through October.

However, a side channel of the Elwha River has become more active since an October storm, leading to flooding of the road in an area just upstream of the new bridge, Maynes said.

Bicycle and foot access are permitted. Visitors should use the bypass trail to avoid the flood-prone area.

Park staff have installed temporary stream gauges to assess the severity and frequency of flooding.

A timeline for reopening the road has not yet been established and will be based upon information gathered from the stream gauges.

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