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Contact: Barb Maynes, 360-565-3005
National Park Service and Federal Highways Administration road construction engineers are continuing to plan and prepare for repairs to both the Olympic Hot Springs Road and the Whiskey Bend Road within Olympic National Park.
Both roads are important visitor access routes within the park's Elwha Valley and will also provide construction access during removal of the Glines Canyon Dam, set to begin this September as part of Elwha River Restoration.
Road repairs are planned to begin in mid-May to the 'Fisherman's Corner' area of the Olympic Hot Springs Road, approximately one mile south of the park boundary.
These repairs, which involve replacement of failed base material and road surface, will necessitate a three-week closure to all public entry, including pedestrian and bicycle access. Exact dates for the closure have not yet been scheduled, but the road is anticipated to close in mid-May and remain closed through early June, including the Memorial Day weekend. The Elwha and Altair campgrounds will also be closed during this three-week period.
"We understand the popularity of the Elwha Valley, particularly during the Memorial Day weekend," said Olympic National Park Superintendent Karen Gustin. "These repairs are vital for public access, routine park operations and to stay on schedule for dam removal, and we ask for the public's understanding as we move forward with these projects."
"Finishing these repairs to the Olympic Hot Springs Road will allow us to move forward more quickly with repairs to the Whiskey Bend Road," Gustin added.
Work on the Whiskey Bend Road will begin as soon as possible after repairs are completed to the Olympic Hot Springs Road, with hopes of reopening Whiskey Bend Road by late summer or early fall.
Repairs to the Olympic Hot Springs Road will correct damage caused by slumping of the river bank and nearby road in the Fisherman's Corner area. Construction will include placement of bank protection, as well as replacement of failed road base material and asphalt.
Final designs for repairs to the Whiskey Bend Road are still underway. These repairs will correct extensive damage caused by heavy rains last December. In addition to slide damage, an assessment by road engineers revealed large voids under the road, seriously compromising road safety and stability.
The 4.5-mile Whiskey Bend Road remains open at this time to pedestrians, bicyclists and stock users, who should be use extra caution when crossing the damaged areas.