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Contact: Barb Maynes, 360-565-3005
Conduits have been installed and new rock walls are nearing completion along the Hurricane Ridge Road. Crews have recently started the process of milling the old pavement and repaving the road, and next week crews will begin repairs to the three sections of road that were undercut and severely damaged during last December’s storm.
In order to accommodate the additional storm damage repair work and the already compressed work schedule, motorists may encounter delays of up to 40 – 50 minutes each way. Flaggers and pilot cars will guide motorists through the active construction areas and temporary traffic signs and signals have been installed for weekend and evening travel. The road will remain open 24 hours a day throughout this period. Weekend work is not scheduled at this time, but may be added if necessary.
Additionally, the Switchback Trail parking area will be closed effective this Monday, July 28 for approximately one month to allow workers to repair the three storm damaged sites in that area. This parking area is approximately three miles north of the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center and provides access to the Switchback Trail and Klahhane Ridge. The trail remains open and may still be accessed by a 3.8 mile hike from Hurricane Ridge. For more trail and hiking information, check the park’s website or call the park’s Wilderness Information Center at 360-565-3100.
“We will make every effort to minimize delays for our visitors during this complex project,” said Olympic National Park Superintendent Karen Gustin. “The project timeline was compressed from two years to only one construction season, so crews are working very hard to complete this major effort by mid-November.”
To accommodate this schedule, the road will likely be closed to all traffic Monday through Thursday from September 15 through October 15. The road will remain open Friday through Sunday.
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 and parking areas along the road.
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.
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.
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.