Process for bidding to open on Olympic Discovery Trail section

PORT TOWNSEND — Jefferson County commissioners have authorized the county Department of Public Works to open a bidding process for contractors to work on a section of the Olympic Discovery Trail along the south end of Discovery Bay.

That doesn’t mean the department is ready to advertise for bids just yet, said Eric Kuzma, engineering service manager.

“We just want to make sure we have all our ducks in a row,” he said.

The section of trail is to run roughly between Old Gardiner Road off U.S. Highway 101 and Salmon Creek and is divided into two phases, according to the call for bids.

The trail will be 10 feet wide and paved. The two phases are scheduled to begin construction simultaneously.

Phase one, the north section of the trail, will need significant groundwork to create a flat surface for the new trail. Phase two will be easier because it will be built along a now-abandoned railroad track.

Both sections will undergo excavation to smooth down the trail before paving and to remove vegetation, according to the plan submitted by Public Works.

New guardrails will be installed where the trail follows Highway 101.

The entire project is expected to cost $1,208,711. It will be funded partially by the Recreation and Conservation Office, which provided a matching fund up to $195,000.

According to Kuzma, the department hopes to begin construction on the project this summer.

The trail is the final portion of a restoration project along south Discovery Bay that was done in cooperation with the North Olympic Salmon Coalition, according to project manager John Fleming.

The coalition finished its portion of the project, which included removing and modifying the abandoned railroad and restoring 11 acres of salt marsh along Snow Creek, in 2014, Fleming said.

The three-quarter-mile section of trail along south Discovery Bay will eventually connect to the Larry Scott trail, which leads into Port Townsend, according to Fleming, but there is no timeline on that section of the project just yet.

When completed, the Olympic Discovery Trail is expected to traverse almost 130 miles of lowlands — bordered on the south by the Olympic Mountains and on the north by the Strait of Juan de Fuca — with its start in Port Townsend and end at the Pacific Ocean.

Other progress along the route of the cross-peninsula trail includes work on the Miller Peninsula on a Jefferson/Clallam County line trailhead and parking area, definition of the trail route in the Joyce area and the completion of the crossing of U.S. Highway 101 west of Lake Crescent.

Also in the works is the restoration of the 450-foot McFee tunnel on the Spruce Railroad Trail on the north shore of Lake Crescent.

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

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