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Contact: Barb Maynes, 360-565-3005
Olympic National Park road crew employees have made significant progress on repairs to the Elwha Olympic Hot Springs Road, which was severely damaged during last winter’s storms and flooding. Repairs will continue for another four to six weeks, with the road anticipated to reopen to motor vehicles in October.
The road has been closed to all entry at the park boundary since the repair project began in late July. With significant progress completed, limited weekend accesscan be restored. The road will remain closed to all entry from Monday through Friday, with bicycle and pedestrian access allowed on weekend days.
The road will open to bicycle and pedestrian access at noon this Friday, September 2 and will remain open until 6:00 p.m. on Labor Day, Monday, September 5. Thereafter, the road will open for non-motorized access from noon on Fridays through 6:00p.m. on Sundays.
TheMadison Falls trail and parking area are located just outside the gate and remain open.
“Crews have successfully completed the necessary in-water work and the temporary bridge is in place,” said Olympic National Park Acting Superintendent Rachel Spector. “Our crews no longer need to work seven days a week, so we are reopening the road for bicycle and pedestrian use on the weekends.”
While construction is underway during the work week, the park’s road crew staff will complete the project, which includes extensive road repair on both sides of the washout. Heavy equipment, loaded dump trucks and other construction vehicles will be using the road Monday through Friday, creating significant hazards for anyone on the road and necessitating the work week closure.
A series of severe winter storms in November, December and January led to exceptionally high flows and flooding along the Elwha River. Approximately 90 feet of Olympic Hot Springs Road was washed out and additional sections were eroded and damaged by flood waters.
Precipitation in the Elwha Valley this winter measured 138 percent of normal, making this winter the fourth wettest in the 75-year record at the Elwha Ranger Station. In the four-monthperiod from November through February, the Elwha River experienced a 25-year flood, a 10-year flood, two five-year floods and one two-year flood.
For more information about visiting Olympic National Park, people should visit http://www.nps.gov/olym.