Public Open Houses for US 101 Elwha River Bridge Updates

February 28, 2017 @ 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm
Rainforest Arts Center
35 N Forks Ave
Forks, WA 98331
Claudia Bingham Baker
Office: 360-357-2789

Elwah Bridge

US 101 Elwha River Bridge, Public Open Houses Updates

 Please find the following note from the WSDOT…

Hello everyone.  Thank you for your continued interest in the US 101 Elwha River Bridge. This email provides the latest information related to the bridge.


We will be visiting both Forks and Port Angeles at the end of the month at two 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.  Our thanks to the Cities of Forks and Port Angeles for providing the meeting venues. The meetings are scheduled as follows:

4:30 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017

Rainforest Arts Center

35 North Forks Avenue

Forks, WA 98331

7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017

Port Angeles City Council Chambers

321 East 5th Street

Port Angeles, WA 98362


We are pleased to report that our monitoring continues to show that the Elwha River Bridge is stable. As a result, and it remains open to all traffic with no restrictions.  Our next bridge inspection is scheduled for Monday, February 13.  For several hours that day, crews will reduce traffic to one alternating lane across the bridge while our bridge preservation engineers get an up-close look at the structure. Depending on their findings, they may modify the frequency with which they inspect the bridge.  We will let you know if any changes are warranted.

I want to reinforce that our main goal is to keep the existing bridge operational until the replacement structure is built and put into service. Inspections and ongoing monitoring are part of that effort. We also are planning to add more riprap (large boulders) in strategic locations in the riverbed to deter further erosion. Currently we are finalizing the plans and contract documents for this work and will be hiring a contractor. The work must be performed during low river flows, so I don’t have a specific start date yet. When the work does take place, expect single-lane closures across the bridge.


You may have noticed over the last few weeks that detour signs have been placed on SR 112, SR 113 and US 101. Even though the bridge remains stable and open to traffic, we must consider, and plan for, the possibility of a future closure due to changing river conditions or bridge structural concerns. In preparation for responding to that situation, we have taken the proactive approach of installing all the necessary detour signs now.  The signs are turned away from traffic but they can be rotated easily, allowing the detour to be implemented quickly. We hope to not have to use these signs, but we feel it is important to be prepared.


I’ll just say outright that driving on state highways in Clallam County will be a little more challenging this year. We have decided to move forward with our pre-scheduled construction program even in light of the Elwha River Bridge issue.  The good news is that a lot of money is being invested in the transportation infrastructure in Clallam County; the not-so-good news is that residents, businesses and tourists will need to endure the delays and disruptions that accompany construction. Here’s a rundown of what WSDOT has on the books this year. Let me begin by saying that if the Elwha River Bridge conditions change, we will modify our construction program accordingly.

SR 112  – Nordstrom Creek – Remove Fish Barrier

In this project, crews will remove a 5-foot-diameter culvert that conveys Nordstrom Creek under the highway near Joyce, and replace it with a 17-foot box culvert. The new structure will improve fish passage and increase habitat area. SR 112 will be reduced to one alternating lane of traffic around the clock for a couple of months. Work will occur in the July-September timeframe.

SR 112 Chip Seal

Almost the whole length of SR 112 will be resurfaced with a chip-seal treatment. Prior to the chip-seal application, crews will spot-repair sections of pavement.  We expect the work to take 3-4 months to complete starting in early April. At the work site, SR 112 will be reduced to one alternating lane of traffic, and at times a pilot car will escort traffic through the work zone.  Since this will be a moving operation, the work location will change from day to day.

SR 112 Slide Repair

Closer to Neah Bay, WSDOT will construct a rock buttress below the highway to reinforce a slide-prone area.  SR 112 will be reduced to one alternating lane during the work, which we expect to occur in late summer/early fall.

SR 113 Bridge Deck Repair

Crews will repair the deck of the bridge spanning Beaver Creek two miles north of the US 101/SR 113 intersection. SR 113 will be reduced to one alternating lane of traffic for up to three weeks  this summer while the deck is patched and sealed.

US 101 Sol Duc River Bridge Painting

WSDOT will repaint two bridges on US 101 that cross the Sol Duc River. One bridge is north of Forks and the other is east of Sappho. US 101 will be reduced to a single alternating lane of traffic most of the summer. As the time approaches I’ll let you know if the bridges will be painted consecutively (requiring lane reductions at one bridge at a time) or concurrently (requiring lane reductions at both bridges at the same time).

US 101 at Matriotti Creek – Remove Fish Barrier

WSDOT will remove the existing 5-foot-diameter culvert under US 101 at Matriotti Creek west of Sequim and replace it with a 19-foot box culvert to enhance fish passage.  Crews will shift all US 101 traffic to one side of the highway median (and then to the other side), reducing the highway to one lane of traffic in each direction around the clock. This work will occur between July and September.

US 101 at Lake Crescent in Olympic National Park

This summer also heralds the beginning of the Olympic National Park’s 3-year US 101 construction project. For more information about that project, please visit the Park’s web page at https://www.nps.gov/olym/index.htm .  WSDOT is not overseeing this construction project, but we will work with Parks staff to coordinate any lane closures needed at the Elwha River Bridge as much as we can.


Whew.  This is a substantial amount of state highway construction in one county. WSDOT is up to the challenge and we have worked hard in each project design to minimize traffic impacts as much as possible while still allowing the work to get done.  As each project gets under way, you can keep track of scheduled roadway closures by visiting our Olympic Region Weekly Construction and Traffic Updates page.

We are looking forward to coming to your community on February 28. Feel free to write me with any questions or concerns and I will do my best to respond promptly. Please consider forwarding this email to friends, neighbors and coworkers, and encourage them to sign up to receive these notices directly by visiting ElwhaRiverBridge.com.


Claudia Bingham Baker

Claudia Bingham Baker
Communications Manager

 Washington State Department of Transportation | Olympic Region
P.O. Box 47440

Olympia, WA 98504-7440

Office:     360-357-2789
Cell:         360-480-3194

Email:      bakerc@wsdot.wa.gov

WSDOT Olympic Region  |  tacomatraffic.com