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US 101 - Elwha River Bridge - Bridge Replacement - Public Route Suggestions

Members of the public have asked WSDOT to analyze some options for realigning US 101 or replacing the Elwha River Bridge beyond the seven options identified by WSDOT. This page lists their suggestions and WSDOT's response.

Suggestion: Alternative alignment

A member of the public suggested that WSDOT realign the Elwha River Bridge to the south to reduce curvature and increase safety. This new alignment would start at the existing alignment but angle south, or alternatively it would move the entire bridge south.

Analysis

Pros

  • This proposed alignment reduces the potential impact to Indian Creek.

Cons

Would require major reconstruction of US 101 and the Olympic Hot Springs Road Intersection.

  • Increases impacts to wetlands and/or environmentally sensitive areas
  • Requires additional right-of-way from two private parcels
  • Introduces additional curves into the highway alignment
  • High probability that bridge would need to be closed during construction, demanding long-term detours

WSDOT Determination

Realigning the bridge is not feasible considering the pros and cons associated with this alternative.



Suggestion: Alternative route over Dan Kelly Road

A member of the public suggested that WSDOT construct a new US 101 connection near Dan Kelly Road rather than replacing the existing Elwha River Bridge.

Analysis

  • Option is more expensive than replacing the existing bridge; costs are approximately $40 million compared to approximately $25 million to replace the existing bridge. This $40 million cost estimate includes construction of 5-5.5 miles of new highway, reconstruction of affected intersections, addition of passing lanes and increased maintenance costs. It does not include evaluation of seismic stability or additional costs to keep the existing bridge functioning for 5-7 years while alternative efforts are completed.

WSDOT Determination

Replacing the Elwha River Bridge would take less time than the proposed Dan Kelly Road route.