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Contact: Barb Maynes, 360-565-3005
Work is set to begin next Monday, April 21 on a seven-month project to restore and rehabilitate the popular Hurricane Ridge Road in Olympic National Park, announced the park’s Acting Superintendent Sue McGill today.
“Over 350,000 people visit Hurricane Ridge each year and while we recognize the inconvenience that road construction can pose, we are eager to get this project underway and to provide a safer, more enjoyable roadway for visitors.” said McGill. “And we’re very pleased to announce that the construction will occur during only one summer season, rather than two as originally planned.”
The $12 million road rehabilitation project is a partnership between the National Park Service, the Federal Highway Administration and local contractor Lakeside Industries. When complete, the Hurricane Ridge Road will be completely resurfaced, along with the Hurricane Ridge parking lot and numerous pullouts along the road.
Also scheduled for completion during the construction period are repairs to three sections of road that were severely damaged during the December 2007 storm and installation of new conduits to carry utility lines to Hurricane Ridge.
Motorists should expect delays of up to 20 minutes during the summer months, with delays of up to 30 minutes in the spring and fall. Flaggers and pilot cars will guide motorists through the active construction areas and temporary traffic signs and signals will be installed for weekend and evening travel.
“Safety concerns dictate that bicycles will not be permitted during the months of active construction, from May 5 through mid-October,” said McGill. “The combination of heavy construction equipment, unpaved roadway and the need to employ pilot cars poses too many risks to allow bicycles this summer.”
As work progresses throughout the spring and summer, road access restrictions may change. Updates will be provided each week, or more frequently if needed.
Visitor safety during road construction is of utmost importance. Heavy machinery with limited visibility, uneven and unpaved road surfaces (up to four miles at a time), one-lane sections of road and lack of guardrails will all pose risks during the upcoming construction season. These, combined with the road’s typical mountain characteristics (steep grade, tight curves, limited sight distance, frequent fog), have led to the decision to restrict bicyclists from using the road during the construction project.
Construction work will begin on April 21 as the contractor begins mobilizing for the project, but construction delays and restrictions will not begin until early May. Weekend work is not scheduled at this time, but may be added at any time if needed.
A summary of construction activity and visitor advisories follows.
April 21 – May 4:
Weather permitting, the road will be open Fridays through Sundays through May 4. The road will be closed Monday through Thursday.
Bicycles will be permitted whenever the road is open.
During this time, the contractor will move equipment to the site and begin trenching alongside the road for the new conduits and associated utility vaults. Other preparatory and staging work will be accomplished.
May 5 – May 25:
Beginning May 5 if weather allows, the road will be open daily, 24 hours a day.
Also effective Monday, May 5 and continuing through mid-October, bicycles will be prohibited from using all sections of the road above the Heart O’ the Hills campground.
Motorists should expect up to four miles of unpaved roadway during this time. On weekdays, delays of up to 30 minutes each way should be expected. Weekend work is not scheduled at this time, but may be added at any time if needed.
Excavation beneath the road bed will begin during this time, allowing for installation of new sub-grade culverts and improved drainage under the road.
May 26 – September 1:
The road is scheduled to be open daily, 24 hours a day. Motorists should expect up to four miles of unpaved roadway.
Estimated delays will be reduced to no more than 20 minutes each way on weekdays. Construction is not currently scheduled for the weekends during this period, but may be added at any time if needed.
Some parking pullouts along the road may be inaccessible due to construction or equipment staging.
Excavation along the road bed will continue, along with rehabilitation of existing road surface.
September 2 – September 14:
The road is scheduled to be open daily, 24 hours per day. Motorists should expect up to four miles of unpaved, gravel roadway and on weekdays and estimated delays of up to 30 minutes each way.
September 15 – October 15:
To accommodate paving, the road will likely be closed Mondays through Thursdays from September 15 through October 15. The road will remain open Fridays through Sundays.
October 15 – November 15:
Most active construction will be completed, although road striping and sign placement will continue throughout this final month of work. Weather and road conditions permitting, the road will be open daily and will reopen to bicycle use on October 16.
The Hurricane Ridge Road was built in the late 1950s and was last resurfaced in 1979. The upcoming reconstruction project was evaluated in a September 2004 environmental assessment which analyzed the effects of the project. Public input was invited and included in the environmental assessment process.
Weekly construction updates will be released throughout the spring, summer and fall as work progresses.
For information on visiting Olympic National Park, including additional options for bicycling on park roads, visitors should check the park’s website or call the Olympic National Park Road and Weather Hotline at 360-565-3131.