DOT recommends new Hood Canal construction sites... none in Clallam County


Peninsula News Network

Department of Transportation officials say they have narrowed their search for a new construction site for the Hood Canal Bridge pontoons to three sites, including a location on Mats Mats Bay not far from the bridge.

DOT has spent the past several weeks trying to find a new location to replace the Port Angeles dry dock project, where construction was canceled in mid-December because of archeological concerns by the Lower Elwha tribe.

Wednesday afternoon, DOT said it had narrowed the initial list of 18-sites down to three:

n Mats Mats Bay north of Port Hadlock

n Port of Everett South Terminal,

n a combination of existing Puget Sound dry dock facilities proposed by FCB Facilities Team.

FCB Facilities Team is a partnership involving the Concrete Technology graving dock on the Blair Waterway in Tacoma, Todd Shipyards located on Terminal Island in Seattle, and the AML/Duwamish Shipyard on the Duwamish Waterway. Those are some of the players that had fought the move to build the new dry dock in Port Angeles.

State officials say they will still explore the idea of fabricating some of the bridge anchors in Port Angeles, but will have to work out those details with the contractor.

While the news should keep the bridge replacement from falling further off schedule, it does kill any hopes of keeping the bulk of the construction work in the Port Angeles.

Four Clallam County sites had been among the 18-sites that had been proposed in January, including the Port of Port Angeles property immediately west of the existing dry dock site, the old Rayonier Mill property and a site at a gravel pit near Twin Rivers west of Joyce as well as Neah Bay.

PA leaders "not surprised" by DOT announcement

Port Angeles officials tell PNN the announcement of the alternate construction sites by DOT developed pretty much as they had been expecting.

Two PA sites had been on the list of candidate sites submitted to the DOT in January, including Port property right next door to the existing dry dock site, and the old Rayonier mill property. However, neither made the cut.

Port Angeles Mayor Rich Headrick, and City Councilwoman Karen Rogers were in Olympia on business when the announcement was made Wednesday but had been expecting the news for the past couple of days. Rogers told PNN she was "not surprised" that Concrete Tech and Todd Shipyards were among the top picks because they had lobbied hard against the Port Angeles site two years ago. Rogers says the Tacoma and Seattle firms "disliked the Port Angeles project from the beginning" and have continued to try and recapture the Hood Canal construction work.



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