State Representative Mike Chapman, left, stands with the Bedinger family, including Don Bedinger, Kim Bedinger, Chase Bedinger, and James Kirkpatrick in Olympia. The Bedinger family asks community members to send letters of support to Chapman for improvements to the Morse Creek curve east of Port Angeles as he proposes a $5 million budget proviso to the 2019-21 state spending plan. Photo courtesy of the Bedinger family

State Representative Mike Chapman, left, stands with the Bedinger family, including Don Bedinger, Kim Bedinger, Chase Bedinger, and James Kirkpatrick in Olympia. The Bedinger family asks community members to send letters of support to Chapman for improvements to the Morse Creek curve east of Port Angeles as he proposes a $5 million budget proviso to the 2019-21 state spending plan. Photo courtesy of the Bedinger family

Support pours in for Morse Creek improvements

The Bedinger family continues to seek support from state legislators, local businesses and communities in Clallam County to get barriers installed on US Highway 101 at the Morse Creek curve east of Port Angeles.

The Peninsula Daily News reported on Jan. 25 that Clallam County commissioners agreed to sign letters encouraging state lawmakers to approve funding for improvements at the curve along Morse Creek, where there have been four fatal vehicles crashes at the site over 10 years.

State Rep. Mike Chapman, D-Port Angeles, is asking the Washington State Department of Transportation to install a “boulevard” style barrier — a raised, landscaped corridor divider — between US Highway 101’s eastbound and westbound lanes at Morse Creek.

Chapman plans to submit a budget proviso to the 2019-21 state spending plan for a $5 million divider along the Morse Creek curve.

The median would cover the length of the curve from milepost 251.68 to 252.80, the PDN reported, and could be built this year if state lawmakers and local communities back the efforts for a barrier.

Chapman also wants to install corridor improvements on US Highway 101 from Sequim to Blyn, particularly in the areas of Palo Alto Road and Whitefeather Way that leads to John Wayne Marina, the PDN reported.

The Bedinger family asks members in the community to send letters of support to Chapman via mail or email by Feb. 11 so he may show the amount of support for the budget proviso.

Letters can be mailed to: Rep. Mike Chapman in c/o Sarah Temples, House of Representatives, 132-B Legislative building, PO Box 40600, Olympia, WA, 98504, or email to sarah.temples@leg.wa.gov.

The Bedingers ask for improvements along Morse Creek after Brooke Bedinger, 19, died in a collision while riding her motorcycle on the Morse Creek curve on June 21, 2018.

Meeting Mike Chapman

Brooke’s family, including her mother Kim Bedinger, father Don Bedinger and brother Chase Bedinger went to Olympia to discuss with Chapman the barrier proposal for Morse Creek. The family said they received 30 minutes of the representative’s time, and that he was supportive of their efforts.

In addition to letters from county commissioners, dozens of other businesses and organizations from Sequim to Port Angeles are writing letters of support for improvements along Morse Creek.

“It’s really overwhelming,” Kim Bedinger said.

“As long as something is done to make it safe, that’s the end goal.”

One letter includes support from several emergency responders, including Olympic Ambulance Service, Clallam County 2 Fire Rescue, Clallam County FPD No. 4 and Port Angeles Fire Department.

Part of the letter reads: “The dangers at Morse Creek are very real. The severity of the curve, the amount of traffic (including tourists) the speed and the turn lanes are problematic enough for the road to be difficult to navigate during typical conditions…Barriers in the center line are only a start to improving the safety of a road as poorly designed as Morse Creek; however, methodical implementation of safety measures is moving in the right direction.”

The Bedingers said Chapman should know if the funding for the divider is approved by mid-March.

A group called “Barriers for Brookie/Morse Creek” meets once a month to garner support for the barriers. The group is planning fundraising events for a memorial fund in Brooke’s name, a fund established at First Federal Bank.

Kim Bedinger said the memorial fund will give back to children in the community by, for example, creating scholarships for children, because Brooke loved children and being around them.

To learn more, visit the “Barriers for Brookie/Morse Creek” Facebook page.

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