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US 101 - Elwha River Bridge - Bridge Replacement

Status

November 2017

  • The US 101 Elwha River Bridge is open to traffic with no restrictions.
  • Toll Free Information Hotline: 1-888-633-4005.
  • This project is currently in the design stage.

Why is WSDOT focusing on the US 101 Elwha River Bridge?

Built in 1926, the 3-span, 388-foot concrete arch bridge has served the community over 90 years. Over the last couple of years, the Elwha River has dramatically changed its course and flow, leading to significant erosion around the bridge foundations. 

Preventive measures

WSDOT is monitoring the bridge closely using a variety of tools. Motorists can assume that if the bridge is open to traffic, it is safe to use. If the condition of the bridge begins to change, WSDOT could implement restrictions ranging from weight restrictions or lowered speed limits, to single-lane closures, to a total bridge closure.

The increased water flow resulting from two dams being removed from the river have caused much material to wash downstream. Since 2012, the riverbed at the bridge has lowered 14 feet.

The lowered riverbed revealed the piers' seals, promoting WSDOT to do borings to verify the depth of the foundations. The borings, done in October 2016, revealed that the foundations are on gravel, not bedrock. This finding was in contrast to what the original 1926 engineering plans showed. As a result, WSDOT immediately installed over 3,300 tons of riprap (large boulders) around both piers to help prevent further erosion. Additional monitoring using tilt meters, crack meters, water flow meters, surveys and visual observations are also taking place.

The End Result

WSDOT is exploring several options to keep traffic moving around the Olympic Peninsula. These options can be viewed on the project library. A reliable US 101 crossing over the Elwha River is vital to the well-being of the communities on the Olympic Peninsula. To that end, we have removed Alternatives 1, 2 and 3 (options that did not include a bridge) from further consideration because they do not meet that need. Additionally, we have removed Alternative 4 (retrofitting the existing bridge) as a long-term solution due to the 90-year-old age of the structure.

We are currently pursuing Alternative 7. We do not have a firm timeline for a construction, but we are moving forward aggressively.

We encourage you to review the alternatives and send your thoughts about them to WSDOT. You can also view alternatives suggested by members of the public on the Public Route Suggestions web page.

Project Benefits
The US 101 Elwha River Bridge is vital to the well-being of the communities on the Olympic Peninsula. Replacing the bridge will ensure that the US 101 route continues to be an option for decades to come.

What is the project timeline?

Financial Information

Financial Data for PIN 310135F
Funding Source Amount ($ in thousands)
2003 Gas Tax (Nickel Funding) $0
2005 Gas Tax (TPA) $0
Pre-Existing Funds (PEF) $29,281
CWA $252
Total $29,533

Project signage will reflect the cost of construction engineering, project bid award and sales tax.

How can I get more information?
Contact:

Claudia Bingham Baker
Communications Manager
WSDOT Olympic Region
360-357-2789

Toll Free Information Hotline

Information about bridge status is available by calling 1-888-633-4005. Please note this number does not accept messages.

Email Updates

Sign up for US 101 Elwha River Bridge alerts via email by doing the following:

  1. Sign up for email updates
  2. After entering your email information, scroll down until you find "Construction Reports - Road Closure Information and Project Updates."
  3. Select "US 101 Elwha River Bridge"
  4. Enter "Submit"

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