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. on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 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 (ten-foot lanes, four-foot shoulders) road to connect existing Towne Road to East Anderson Road.
• Construct a two-lane road and separate six-foot trail surface. Given the limited 32-feet available, the road would include 10-foot-wide lanes with one-foot shoulders, and 2-foot guard rails.
• Construct a one-lane, 16-foot road surface (south-bound) 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 that acquiring funds and construction for any of these road surface alternatives to will likely take two to three years.
A public comment period for written comments is open now, and ends at 5 p.m. on 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, while online comments are accepted at the county’s Dungeness Restoration page at clallamcountywa.gov/184/Dungeness-Floodplain-Restoration.
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 resulting in reduced flood risk and expanded habitat for salmon and other fish and wildlife species.
Originally, the project was designed to provide for 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 in the summer of 2022.
Following the construction of the new levee, the site became popular with as a hiking trail. The elevation of the facility, county officials said, gave the users ample view of the restored floodplain and wildlife that inhabit the restored area.
Users presented petitions to the Clallam County Board of 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.