US 101 Elwha River Bridge, Public Open Houses Updates
Please find the following note from the WSDOT…
This is to let you know that WSDOT representatives will be coming to your area this month. Our goal is to provide another update on the design progress of the Elwha River Bridge replacement project, give estimated timelines for moving forward, and answer any questions you may have.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS
We will be visiting Port Angeles and Forks on February 20th and February 21st, at three public open houses. You are invited to come hear about the status of the bridge and our plans moving forward. We will begin both open houses with a presentation, followed by a question/answer session. The meetings are scheduled as follows:
6pm Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Port Angeles City Council Meeting
321 East 5th St.
7:30 a.m. Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Forks Business and Professional Association
411 Tillicum Lane (Department of Natural Resources Building)
Noon Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Forks Chamber of Commerce meeting
Blakeslee’s Bar & Grill
1222 South Forks Avenue
Steve Roark, Assistant Regional Administrator, will provide information on the work that has occurred both behind the scenes and in the field over the last year. In previous communications, we have alluded to the complexity of transportation projects. Steve will go into more detail about the lengthy process WSDOT follows before any project goes to construction and provide more detail about the steps in this particular project.
For those of you who can’t attend, allow me to provide some highlights:
- The current Elwha River Bridge remains stable and open to all traffic. Thank you for your patience today while we conducted our latest quarterly bridge inspection. We will continue monitoring the bridge with our robust monitoring plan.
- We have made significant progress over the last year on various discipline reports required for the project to move forward, including hydraulic and geotechnical reports and roadway alignment and intersection plans. In addition, the first stage of bridge design is complete.
- We are making progress with the NEPA environmental process, in which we analyze the project’s effects on air and water quality, noise, wetlands, cultural resources and other environmental elements. We hope to have the NEPA process complete by December 2018.
- Once we are granted NEPA, which means the federal government agrees that we have sufficiently reviewed, identified and mitigated for any environmental effects, and thus the project can proceed, we will apply for a Highway Easement Deed from Olympic National Parks to acquire the right to build the bridge on federal land. This is a linear process – we cannot acquire land rights until we are granted NEPA.
- Finalizing NEPA will also allow us to finalize all design and contract plans, acquire all permits needed for construction, and prepare the contract for advertisement to the contractor community. Our current timeline has construction occurring between summer 2019 and fall 2020. That timeline is subject to change, of course, if unforeseen issues arise.We hope to see you on either Feb. 20 or Feb. 21. Feel free to write me directly if you have questions or comments that can’t wait.
For more information contact:
Claudia Bingham Baker
Washington State Department of Transportation | Olympic Region
P.O. Box 47440
Olympia, WA 98504-7440