Clallam County looks to replace Whiskey Creek bridge

Lodging tax grant will fully cover $75K project costs

PORT ANGELES — The 20-year-old makeshift bridge that collapsed in mid-April over Whiskey Creek on the Olympic Adventure Trail is set to be replaced this summer thanks to a Clallam County lodging tax grant.

The county commissioners are scheduled to approve a bid for the $75,803 project during their next regular meeting, set for 10 a.m. June 11 at the Clallam County Courthouse, 223 E. Fourth St. in Port Angeles.

“It’s like an Erector set, with clear instructions,” said Jesse Goodman, county public works engineer, at the commissioners’ Monday work session. “There’s a lot of tested applications out there. It can be put together with three to four people in three to four days onsite.”

The Whiskey Creek bridge is located near milepost 18 along the 25-mile Olympic Adventure Trail route begins at the trailhead just west of the state Route 112 Elwha River Bridge and connects to the Olympic Discovery Trail-Spruce Railroad Trail segment in Olympic National Park.

Steve Gray, the county’s transportation program manager, said the previous log bridge that had a cradle around it for 20 years collapsed in mid-April. That bridge was only usable for hikers and bikers, so they are seeking to install a 60-foot-long, 6-foot-wide bridge that also can accommodate horses, he said.

The project site is 1.5 miles from the nearest parking area along a narrow trail corridor, Gray said. Other challenges include the material weight, which is why fiberglass was chosen, and the fish window, which only allows in-water construction from July 15 to Sept. 15, he said.

The narrow, natural-surface trail corridor will not allow for large equipment to transport or install the bridge materials, so fiberglass that is light enough to be carried in segments to the site was selected.

Only one of three contractors can deliver the project by Aug. 23, although Aug. 15 would be better, Gray said. If they go out to bid, that would mean waiting another year, which would impact trial users, he said.

The county lodging tax grant will fully cover the project cost, Gray said.

“We definitely saw a lot of advantages to that,” he said. “It’s a truss bridge, so we can buy local materials for the decking and mid-rails. We are in the process of getting the permits.”

“This project has been a big deal to the lodging tax committee,” Commissioner Mike French said.

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Reporter Brian Gawley can be reached by email at brian.gawley@ peninsulanews.us.

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