Monthly Archives: December 2016

Forks Council Favors Alt 7 on Elwha River Bridge

The Forks City Council in joining the chorus of public officials who are asking the state to replace the battered U.S. Highway 101 Elwha River bridge on a new alignment.

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Council members voted 3-0 Tuesday to pass a resolution in support of a state Department of Transportation (DOT) design alternative — option 7 — that would place a new bridge north of the existing span with new approaches.  That’s also the option favored by County Commissioners, Port Commissioners and the Forks Chamber of Commerce.

The 90-year-old concrete bridge’s piers are being undercut by the now free-flowing Elwha River.

Option 7 would allow drivers to use the existing bridge during construction, eliminating the need for lengthy detours onto state Highways 112 and 113.

Forks Mayor Bryon Monohon says it also would also eliminate “dead man’s curve” east of the river where the highway meets Olympic Hot Springs Road.

The resolution states “None of the other alternatives ensure the continued flow of commerce and travel while providing for a long-term, lasting solution to the current problem, as well as the bridge reaching the end of its useful life in a cost-efficient manner,”

Forks City Councilmen Ken Ayers, John Hillcar and Jon Preston approved the resolution during Tuesday night’s council meeting. Council members Bill Brager and Juanita Weissenfels were absent.

Judge Tosses Suit on Cabin Repair at ONP

A federal Judge says  Olympic National Park had the authority to repair five historic structures in its wilderness area.

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A Montana environmental group had sued the National Park Service in 2015 after crews rebuilt or rehabilitated Botten Cabin, Canyon Creek Shelter, Wilder Shelter, Bear Camp Shelter and Elk Lake Shelter.

Wilderness Watch challenged the park’s decision to repair the hiking shelters and to use helicopters and motorized tools to do so under the federal Wilderness Act.

Judge Robert B. Leighton of the U.S. District Court of Western Washington in Tacoma granted the park’s motion for summary judgment and dismissed the lawsuit Dec. 14.

DOT Will Replace Elwha River Bridge

DOT now says it’s official, the Elwha River Bridge on Hwy 101 will be replaced. The question is which of three alternatives left will DOT choose.

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There were seven proposals on the bridge ranging including abandoning it and rerouting traffic to Hwy 112 or retrofitting the bridge – those have been dropped.

The state Department of Transportation says it received nearly 300 public comments on the design alternatives for abandoning, retrofitting or replacing the 90-year-old bridge, which is being undermined by the now-wild Elwha River.

Transportation is now considering three alignments for a new bridge: the existing alignment, a parallel alignment or a new alignment to the north which is alternative 7.  That plan is favored by County Commissioners, the Forks Chamber of Commerce and Port of PA commissioners.

The cost of $18-$25M would be greater than the other choice and would take 1-2 years to complete.

Old Olympic Hwy Bridge to be closed 6-8 months

DOT is still deciding what to do about traffic when the Elwha River Bridge west of PA on Highway 101 is being replaced.  But they do have a plan in place for another failing bridge.

The old Olympic Highway Bridge over McDonald Creek will be replaced starting in May.  That span will be closed for about 6-8 months during construction.

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Commissioners Mark Ozias and Bill Peach voted Tuesday to approve a revised local agency agreement with the state Department of Transportation for the bridge replacement project.

A county contractor will remove the 60-year-old bridge and replace it with a 40-foot-wide span. Clallam County will pay about $3 million of the $4.7M cost with real estate excise taxes.  The remainder will come from the federal government.

Drivers will detour from Old Olympic Highway onto U.S. Highway 101 during the expected six- to eight-month closure at the bridge.

Will Amazon Go Eliminate Jobs? Expert Says Probably Not

Seattle- based  Amazon has launched a new model for grocery stores that dispenses with cashiers. It’s part of a trend toward automating the workforce, but does it mean the end of jobs?

Eric Tegethoff reports:

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