Traffic in parts of downtown Port Angeles, including Front and Laurel streets and Railroad Avenue, will be restricted for demolition of existing buildings this fall to make way for construction of a hotel being built by the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Traffic in parts of downtown Port Angeles, including Front and Laurel streets and Railroad Avenue, will be restricted for demolition of existing buildings this fall to make way for construction of a hotel being built by the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Traffic, sidewalk shutdowns imminent for hotel project

PORT ANGELES — Traffic snarls are in the fall forecast for downtown Port Angeles.

City officials are close to approving a two-phase plan calling for intermittent one-lane traffic closures and sidewalk shutdowns while buildings are demolished for the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe’s $24 million hotel, City Engineer Johnathan Boehme said Thursday.

Demolition would last for about six weeks and begin the week of Sept. 16, according to a right-of-way permit application submitted by the project contractor, PNE Construction of Longview.

Closures would occur during the demolition work period of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, Boehme said.

Under Phase 1, sidewalk closures on the east side of North Laurel Street from East Front Street to East Railroad Avenue, and the south side of East Railroad Avenue from The Gateway transit center to Laurel would begin when demolition starts the week of Sept. 16.

The closures would last about two weeks.

During that time, workers will demolish Necessities and Temptations, 217 N. Laurel St.; the former Harbor Art Gallery building, 101 E. Railroad; and the former Budget Car Rental building, 111 E. Front St.

Phase 2 would begin the week of Sept. 30 and last about one month.

Sidewalks would be closed on the north side of Front Street from the Transit Center to Laurel Street, and on Laurel Street from Front Street to Railroad Avenue.

During Phase 2, the north lane of two-lane, one-way Front Street abutting the demolition site would be closed from west of the Gateway Transit Center to Laurel Street.

Clallam Transit buses would continue staging at The Gateway transit center, Boehme said.

Phase 2 closures would occur during demolition of the Larry Winters storage garage, 111 E. Front St. and the Downtown Hotel, 101 E. Front St.

They would be employed “as needed for public safety,” according to the application.

The Cornerhouse Restaurant, which recently closed to make way for the project, and the Downtown Hotel both are at the same 101 E. Front St. address.

Both require demolition permits that are under review, city Planning Technician Kevin Bagwell said Thursday.

Boehme said alternate vehicle routes would be Lincoln Street on the east end of downtown and Oak Street on the west end.

“The days when the traffic lane would be closed is not detailed,” Boehme said.

“That’s more dependent on actual activity.

“They are only going to close travel when they have to safely complete the work.

Boehme has approved the traffic-control part of the permit and is awaiting comments from other city officials and Clallam Transit, Black Ball Ferry Line, the Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Port Angeles Downtown Association.

“If there are no problems identified in the review, within another week or so, it could be issued,” he said.

“At this time, we have not received any information to lead us to believe we would not approve it.”

Linty Hopie, the tribe’s enterprise chief operations officer, said the closures would not occur Sept. 20-21 during the fifth Arts & Draughts Beer & Wine Festival and Oct. 11-13 during the Dungeness Crab & Seafood Festival.

Hopie, who was set to release a public announcement today about the project, said demolition would begin with the building that housed Necessities & Temptations, which closed in March.

She said that would be followed in sequence by leveling the Harbor Art Gallery building, the Budget Car Rental building, the garage, and the building which houses the Downtown Hotel and, formerly, the Cornerhouse Restaurant.

“There will be street closures,” she said.

“I just don’t know to what extent and to what degree.

“The unfortunate thing is that you will have the delays.”

Hopie said there is a good side to delays that have occurred in moving the hotel project forward to demolition.

“The fortunate thing is that the delay has put the demolition window outside our major, busy downtown season.”

Environmental cleanup of the site will begin after demolition.

An estimated 1,500 to 2,000 cubic yards of soil contaminated with petroleum, and three petroleum-product tanks, will be removed.

Hotel manager and tribal representative Robert Utz said in a July 18 interview that the four-story waterfront-mountain view hotel should be open by spring 2021.

The approximately 100-room facility will include a restaurant and lounge.

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].

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