The San Juan County Public Works Department reports that design work and permitting have been completed on the $2.5 million Fisherman Bay Road improvement project on Lopez Island, and right of way preparation work will begin shortly. Major construction is scheduled to begin in April and completed by the end of August. Federal and State grants totaling approximately $1.50 million will cover nearly 60 percent of the total project cost.
The Fisherman Bay project responds to community concerns about safety on the 1.7-mile stretch of road. The work will replace the failing road surface and base, and increase the radius of two 90 degree bends in the road that have been especially treacherous when oncoming traffic meets a large truck rounding the curve. The project design calls for a four-foot shoulder on each side of the road for the safety of drivers and to accommodate bicycles and pedestrians. It also includes a pullout area for the ride share program and resting spots for bicyclists.
A bonus benefit of the project will be the creation of a five-foot wide pedestrian path running about 6/10ths of a mile from Milagra Lane to the library in Lopez Village. The public works department developed the design for the project over a period of more than two years. It invited community participation and suggestions and is emphasizing low-impact design. The pedestrian path will be built of a pervious concrete surface designed to be wheelchair and stroller friendly while minimizing the compaction of the soil underneath the path, so rainwater can percolate through it.
Rozewood Environmental Services of Lopez Island consulted in the design process because of the extensive wetlands in the area. As a result, a new wetland encompassing approximately 1/4-acre will be created to mitigate the project’s impact on the existing wetlands.
To clean and minimize run-off, level “detention ditches” have been designed to slow the flow of the run-off on the higher side of the road. A vegetated filter strip will clean and slow run-off on the lower side of the road.
Weather permitting, right of way preparatory work will start in February so that the main construction project can get underway by mid-spring and be completed before the end of August. Island Excavating, Inc of Orcas Island won the contract to do the work.