Petitions developed by local citizens seek to keep the “new” Towne Road unpaved and open to hikers and walkers. (Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Petitions developed by local citizens seek to keep the “new” Towne Road unpaved and open to hikers and walkers. (Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Public comment sought about Sequim’s Towne Road future

Meeting for residents scheduled for Tuesday

SEQUIM — The “new” Towne Road may not be remade into a road after all.

Clallam County officials are considering four options for the site of the levee that was constructed during the Lower Dungeness River Floodplain Restoration in recent months, after the site became popular with recreationalists who began using it as a hiking and walking trail.

The Board of Clallam County Commissioners is hosting a public meeting to hear residents’ thoughts about their alternatives at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Guy Cole Event Center, 202 N. Blake Ave.

The meeting, county officials say, will allow county staff to “provide clarifying information and solicit discussion on project alternatives.”

Those alternatives include:

• Construct a two-lane (10-foot lanes, 4-foot shoulders) road to connect existing Towne Road to East Anderson Road.

• Construct a two-lane road and separate 6-foot trail surface. Given the limited 32 feet available, the road would include 10-foot-wide lanes with 1-foot shoulders, and 2-foot guard rails.

• Construct a one-lane, 16-foot road surface (southbound) and a 12-foot-wide pedestrian trail surface; or

• Construct a pedestrian trail surface centered on the levee. This option would require the placement of a single-use driveway access to accommodate an existing landowner.

County officials said acquiring funds and construction for any of these road surface alternatives likely will take two to three years.

A public comment period for written comments is open now; it ends at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 10. Written comments may be addressed to: Board of Clallam County Commissioners, 223 E. Fourth St., Suite 4, Port Angeles, WA 98362. Email comments may be sent to loni.gores@clallamcountywa.gov, while online comments are accepted at the county’s Dungeness Restoration page at clallamcountywa.gov/184/Dungeness-Floodplain-Restoration.

Project background

Completed earlier this year, the multi-agency Lower Dungeness River Floodplain Restoration Project relocated a portion of the levee system along the lower reaches of the Dungeness River. The project reconnected more than 175 acres of the river’s historic floodplain, which project leaders say result in reduced flood risk and expanded habitat for salmon and other fish and wildlife species.

Originally, the project was designed to provide for the relocation of the northern portion of Towne Road on top of the new structure. Old Towne Road would then be removed, and the former location of the road restored as part of the floodplain.

However, county officials noted, scheduling constraints required that the new levee be constructed simultaneously with the removal of the old Towne Road last summer.

Following the construction of the new levee, the site became popular as a hiking trail. The elevation of the facility gave the users ample view of the restored floodplain and wildlife that inhabit the restored area, county officials said.

Users presented petitions to the Clallam County commissioners, requesting that the new levee be developed as a recreational trail facility.

“This upswell of support for an alternative surfacing option gave the Board reason to pause the road construction portion of the project,” county officials said.

An aerial image shows flooding of the Lower Dungeness Floodplain Restoration site on Dec. 27, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Clallam County)

An aerial image shows flooding of the Lower Dungeness Floodplain Restoration site on Dec. 27, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Clallam County)

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