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Look for Mount Baker Road and trail improvement projects under construction this summer

The final phase of the Mount Baker Road improvement project on Orcas Island is scheduled go to bid his spring, with construction taking place during the summer.

The project includes road safety improvements, wetland restoration and construction of a pedestrian trail.

San Juan County received a $2.56 million dollar Rural Arterial Trust Account grant from the state to help pay for design, right of way acquisition, and construction. They still have $1.3 million from that fund, said Dan Vekved of Public Works. An additional Federal Transportation Enhancement grant of $88,000 was received for the adjacent trail project. Public Works is requesting an additional $700,000 from Federal Surface Transportation Program for road and trail work.

The project widens Mt. Baker Road from 20 feet to 30 feet from the intersection with North Beach Road to the intersection with Terrill Beach Road. There will be two 11-foot lanes with four-foot shoulders.

The Terrill Beach Road intersection will be moved to the southeast to enhance sight distance for vehicles turning left across Mt. Baker Road. Drainage will be improved by replacing cross culverts, raising the road in places, and improving or installing ditches. Narrow Area Vegetated Filter Strips for filtration and treatment will improve stormwater quality, according to Dietzman. Because the road is widening and thus destroying 0.6 acres of wetland, compensatory wetland mitigation will be undertaken on the Land B

ank’s Stonebridge Preserve, intended to enhance and rehabilitate approximately six acres of existing degraded wetlands. The mitigation includes developing wet pools for birds and amphibians and planting to revegetate the area. A 5-foot wide gravel pedestrian trail will be built from North Beach Road to the Terrill Beach Road pond, where it may be extended to a future Land Bank interpretive trail. Vekved said the project will complete the work which should have been done 15 years ago when Mt. Baker Road was designated as truck bypass route around Eastsound. Previous improvements to Mt. Baker Road between Lovers Lane and North Beach Road were completed in 1997.

He said there will may be additional public meetings in April, which will give more information about the worked done at Stonebridge Preserve.

To stay informed or for more project information, contact Vekved at Public Works 370-0504 or danv@sjcpublicworks.org.

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