New Ehlwa River Bridge Work to Start in Fall

Work on a New Elwha River Bridge Starts this Fall

Crews will break ground on a new bridge over the Elwha River this summer for completion by 2021. 

That from DOT officials in Forks at the C of C meeting on Wednesday. 

Assistant regional administrator Steve Roarke That engineers are “just about pencils down” on designing the $32.5 million project. And he’s says they are pretty stoked to get this rolling.”

The three-span concrete bridge will be built to the north of the existing bridge. The old bridge will continue to serve highway traffic during construction.

The new two-lane bridge will have a more gentle approach on the east side of the river and a wider road surface with 12-foot lanes and eight-foot shoulders on both sides.

Roark says Olympic Hot Springs Road will get a new intersection east of the bridge with better sight lines, illumination and dedicated turn lanes from the highway.  Construction is scheduled to take 18 to 24 months, after which time traffic will be shifted onto the new bridge.

The existing bridge built in 1926 was undercut by changes to the Elwha River after removal of the Elwha and Glines Canyon dams from 2011 to 2014.

Roark says is still safe – and DOT has equipment monitoring the bridge at all times.