Peninsula traffic delays ahead

Hood Canal Bridge weekend closures, other plans set this year

Numerous state Department of Transportation multi-million-dollar construction projects will cause significant delays and detours on the North Olympic Peninsula for much of 2023.

Closures of the Hood Canal Bridge, installation of state Highway 104 roundabouts and fish barrier projects are planned.

“We need people to help us out by staying informed and staying engaged,” said Steve Roark, Olympic Region administrator for the Department of Transportation (DOT). The region includes Clallam and Jefferson counties in addition to Kitsap, Mason, Grays Harbor, Pierce and Thurston.

DOT has set up a “virtual open house” that, although it will not take feedback, will provide updated information regarding construction projects in the area. It can be found at

It includes information about downloading the DOT app, signing up for emails and other ways to stay informed about road work.

Work though the construction season will be concentrated largely on the eastern side of the Peninsula, with weekend Hood Canal Bridge closures a major disruption.

The Hood Canal Bridge will be closed to vehicular traffic for four consecutive weekends beginning July 28. It will be closed from 11 p.m. that Friday, July 28, through 4 a.m. the following Monday, July 31.

It will be closed during the same hours from Aug. 4-7, Aug. 11-14, and Aug. 18-Aug. 21.

The Hood Canal Bridge weekend closures will be in the middle of the construction work to install a $4.6 million metered roundabout on state Highway 104 at the Paradise Bay Road and Shine Road intersection. Work is expected to begin this spring and extend through the summer into early winter.

During the same time period, a $4 million non-metered roundabout will be installed up the road at 104’s intersection with state Highway 19, also known as Beaver Valley Road.

Another major project — this one on the west end of the Peninsula, the Elwha River Bridge replacement — will begin this year but will not disrupt traffic since the new bridge will be built next to the roadway. No closures of U.S . Highway 101 are expected until the end of the project in 2025, DOT officials said.

Replacement of fish barriers east and west of Port Angeles is not planned until 2024, although several barriers will be replaced this year elsewhere on the Peninsula.

In 2013, a federal court injunction required the state to significantly increase efforts in removing state-owned culverts that block habitat for salmon, bull trout and steelhead.

Hood Canal Bridge

The Hood Canal Bridge project will entail rehabilitating the center locks on the Hood Canal Bridge’s west half drawspan.

“They have served us well but they are at the end of their life,” said Roark, adding that the bridge needs constant maintenance because it rests in a harsh salt-water environment.

The center locks allow the bridge to be opened and closed and the state is obligated to open the bridge for marine traffic, including Navy ships.

They guide the span and keep both halves of the bridge connected.

The contractor also will have to “test and trim” the bridge after the new center locks are installed, which will require 14 nighttime closures, from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m.

“There’s no way to avoid impacts from the bridge closures,” Roark said, adding that no mitigation is planned.

”We tried to fit them when they would have the least impact on commuters, people traveling to medical appointments and the movement of people and goods,” he said.

Olympic Peninsula Visitor Bureau Executive Director Marsha Massey said the state transportation department has been very communicative with the bureau regarding the projects and potential impacts on tourism.

“We appreciate that they came out here to talk with us and meet with us,” Massey said. “We started this conversation back in the fall. Our initial concerns were the Hood Canal Bridge closures.

“The tourism commission compiled a list of dates and asked them to consider not closing the bridge during those times. They were very respectful to take those into consideration,” Massey said.

“I feel like it’s been a dialogue. It’s not going to be easy. The big piece is communication,” she said.


Reporter Brian Gawley can be reached at Brian.Gawley@

More in News

A paving crew from Lakeside Industries replaces pavement on the Waterfront Trail and the entrance to the Port Angeles City Pier parking lot on Wednesday as part of a project to improve sidewalks and storm water drainage around the site. The project is expected to be substantially completed and the parking lot reopened by mid-March. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Port Angeles City Pier

A paving crew from Lakeside Industries replaces pavement on the Waterfront Trail… Continue reading

Port Townsend approves utility rate changes, renames skate park

Public hearing set for Transportation Benefits District

Slate of initiatives has upended Olympia, lobbyist says

‘Potential showstoppers’ described at Coffee with Colleen

Artist Chris Stevenson, who described herself as an urban sketcher from Port Townsend, uses a pencil for scale as she sketches the work at the new entrance to Point Hudson Marina on Monday morning. A group in town, the Port Townsend Urban Sketchers will meet at 10 a.m. Saturday to sketch at the Port Townsend Aero Museum. Sessions are free and open to sketchers of all skill levels. For more information, see (Steve Mullensky/for Peninsula Daily News)
Marina art

Artist Chris Stevenson, who described herself as an urban sketcher from Port… Continue reading

The site of the former Rayonier mill in Port Angeles, shown on Tuesday, awaits completion of environmental cleanup almost 27 years after the last roll of pulp rolled off the line. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Cleanup at Rayonier site still years away

Action plan to be approved in 2024-25

About 25 people, including Warren Musgrove of Port Angeles, far right, rallied in support of Palestine on Saturday in front of the Clallam County Courthouse. The event, also scheduled to run from noon to 1 p.m. this Saturday and March 2, included an information table that provided information about the history of occupation in the Gaza Strip, organizer Christy Cox said. (Lois Danks)
Rally for Rafah

About 25 people, including Warren Musgrove of Port Angeles, far right, rallied… Continue reading

Report: Crime down in Port Townsend in 2023

New hires added to city department

Clallam County eyes four locations for reservoir

Clallam County will know more about the four potential… Continue reading

Conservation Futures Fund citizen committee to elect officers

The Jefferson County Conservation Futures Fund Citizen Oversight Committee… Continue reading

Cetacean system aims to reduce ship strikes

The U.S. Coast Guard is launching a cetacean desk pilot… Continue reading