With a sympathetic ear Sarah Creachbaum, Superintendent of Olympic National Park, listened to the community last Wednesday as she and Olympic National Park staff made the rounds with multiple stops at the Forks Chamber meeting and then Forks City Hall before finishing with an open house at the RAC.
The main topic of the day was the Lake Crescent Rehab project. The 11.6-mile project came to a close for the season in December with the rockfall hazard completed as well as slope stabilization and culvert installations. The rock bolting portion of the project saw 5,125 linear feet of bolting; each 10-25 feet long, and a total of 350 of them installed.
The plan calls for work to resume on March 15, with erosion control and the work to begin at the east end of the Lake and working west. Milling will take place May- September and paving May -September with 60,000 tons of asphalt being applied to the roadway. New guardrails will also be installed. For 2018 the work is scheduled to take place until mid-November.
For 2019, transit stops will be upgraded, signage installed and the last two inches of asphalt and striping.
For the 2018 construction season, delays will continue on weekdays only and not include holidays. The scheduled six-hour delays will take place on Monday-Wednesday 10 p.m.-4 a.m. There will be no concurrent closures for US Highway 101 and SR 112. The target date for completion of the project is Sept. 26, 2019.
There will be no construction mid-November through March.
At this point, the project is 30 percent complete.
Creachbaum told those that attended the open house that the West End was impacted more than anyone expected. Questions from the audience included the choice of the rock bolting over a screen at the rock wall. Creachbaum explained that the type of rock at the rock wall is a different type than at other places around the Lake and a screen would not work with the slab type rock. Hazard tree removal was also discussed and Creachbaum said she would encourage help from the public in identifying potentially dangerous trees. She also said that ONP has budgeted more money for future tree removal.
Another topic of discussion was the lack of signage especially for tourists that had to take the SR112 detour. Creachbaum said that would be looked at.
Earlier in the day, Creachbaum and staff members, Christina Miller, Penny Wagner and Lee Taylor stopped in at the Forks Chamber of Commerce meeting. They gave a general update on ONP.
Some items of interest were road repairs in the Elwha area and the upper Hoh Road. A portion of ONP entrance fees will be used to repair docks at Lake Ozette and to do some improvement work in the Hoh Campground. New exhibits are also planned for the Hoh Visitor Center.
Christina Miller update on the goat management plan. The Park is looking at 90 percent reduction in the goat population. They received 2,300 comments on the topic. The end goal is no goats in the park.
Penny Wagner shared an update on the Spruce Railroad portion of the ODT and said that work on the Hurricane Ridge Parkway will begin in April. A question was asked regarding the decision to raise park entrance fees. The park service received 148,000 comments. No decision has been made at this time and will come down from the other Washington.
After their quick visit at Chamber, they were off to a meeting at Forks City Hall with City staff and employees of Strider, the company that is the contractor for the Lake Crescent Rehab Project, and other interested parties.
Creachbaum did tell those attending the evening open house that another meeting is planned prior to construction beginning again in March.