Several construction and repair projects along Olympic National Park roads and trails will improve visitor access and safety, park officials noted this week.
While work is ongoing, visitors and area residents should expect some delays and temporary closures.
“Maintaining safe access into Olympic National Park is one of our top priorities,” said Todd Suess, Olympic National Park acting superintendent.
"We recognize the inconvenience this work may represent to some of our visitors and we ask the public for their understanding and patience.”
Hurricane Ridge Road
Two failing culverts will be replaced along Hurricane Ridge Road at mileposts one and seven. The project is scheduled to start tomorrow, Sept. 12, and continue through Sept. 28, weather permitting.
The road will remain open to one-lane traffic throughout the construction.
Construction crews will work weekdays only, from 6 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday; delays of up to 15 minutes may be encountered during those times. No delays are anticipated during the weekends.
Staircase Rapids Trail Bridge
Crews have begun work to install a new bridge over the North Fork Skokomish River on the Staircase Rapids Loop Trail. A Portland-based heavy-lift helicopter is scheduled to fly construction materials for the new bridge into the park’s backcountry Sept. 17-20.
A one-mile section of the Staircase Rapids Loop Trail on the west side of the North Fork Skokomish River will be closed during helicopter operations.
Additional work, including installation of the bridge decking and railings, will be completed by January 2013, weather permitting.
Staircase Rapids Bridge crosses the North Fork Skokomish River and connects two segments of the Staircase Rapids Loop Trail. The bridge was destroyed by record snowfall during the winter of 1998-1999. Replacement of the bridge restores this popular two-mile loop trail.
Elwha River Trail, Sol Duc Valley
Four new bridges are scheduled to be installed along the Elwha River Trail and Deer Lake Trail. The bridges will replace the Godkin Creek Bridge, two of the three spans of the Hayes River Bridge and the bridge at the outlet of Deer Lake. The bridges and their abutments were removed by trail crews earlier in the summer. Temporary foot logs currently provide passage for hikers at all three locations.
The bridge spans will be flown in by a heavy-lift helicopter and placed at the four sites during a one-day operation in late September or early October. The date of the operation will be determined by weather conditions and helicopter availability. To ensure visitor safety, the trail will be closed for a short time at each site when the bridges are placed. Time and routine use caused the four bridge spans to deteriorate and decay.
Replacement of the bridge spans will restore access for stock animals along the two trails.
U.S. Highway 101
Rock scaling and bolting of a cliff face along U.S. Highway 101 just west of Sledgehammer Point on Lake Crescent is scheduled to begin Oct. 6 and continue for five weeks. The construction will reinforce the cliff face to lessen the chance of rock falls onto the road.
The road will be reduced to one lane of traffic during construction. Visitors should expect delays of up to 30 minutes. Flaggers and pilot cars will guide motorists through the active construction areas on weekdays and temporary traffic signs and signals will be installed for weekend and evening travel. Oversized vehicles are encouraged to use an alternate route.
“We urge motorists to use caution and drive slowly through work zones as repair work continues over the next few months,” Suess said.
Get current road information by calling Olympic National Park’s information line at 565-3131 or online at nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/current-road-conditions.htm.
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