Submitted by Brendan Cowan.
Some island roads still have isolated spots with water or small debris over the roadway. Drivers should continue to use caution, especially while driving at night. San Juan County Public Works crews have been working diligently to clear obstructions and stabilize roads requiring emergency repairs.
There are numerous reports of private roads or driveways with significant impacts. Residents and neighborhoods should work directly with private contractors to repair non-County roadways.
The primary focus remains the complete washout of Pt. Lawrence Road just past Doe Bay Resort on Orcas Island that has isolated 200 homes. Below is the most current information related to the situation:
• Public Works engineers inspected the site today, and initial site prep work has begun in advance of the construction of a one-lane temporary causeway that will allow for free passage of the creek and vehicle transit. Emergency notifications have been submitted to regulatory agencies and construction is anticipated to begin in full on Wednesday, Nov. 17.
• Construction timeline is dependent on many factors, including weather and further investigation of the roadbed, but Public Works staff are hopeful that the temporary road could be complete before Thanksgiving (Thursday, November 25).
• The island spirit is in full effect as a group of neighbors are actively building a pedestrian bridge in partnership with Doe Bay resort that will allow for foot traffic across the creek. The Orcas Island Community Foundation has generously offered to support any costs associated with this effort. Tremendous thanks to Joe Brotherton, River Augenstein, and the rest of the Doe Bay team for their incredible generosity and help. And most of all, thanks to the impacted residents who are rolling up their sleeves and putting so much effort into supporting their incredible community.
• Island Rides is available to shuttle impacted residents who are in need of transportation to Eastsound, the ferry, or elsewhere. Island Rides may be reached at 360-672-2201. Standard hours of operation are 10am – 3pm, but they may be contacted in advance to arrange rides outside of those hours. NOTE: Island Rides is actively recruiting volunteer drivers. Please contact them directly if interested. Again, the Orcas Island Community Foundation is providing support to the effort, thanks to Hilary Canty and their amazing donors for enabling so much great work.
• Orcas Island Fire and Rescue and the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office have plans in place for the provision of emergency services to the impacted area, including stationing of a paramedic at Fire Station 27, on the far side of the washout. Thanks to Chief Williams and the entire OIFR team for their willingness to step up in a crisis. As always, any resident who is in crisis and in need of support should contact 911 at any time.
• San Juan County will continue to provide updates to the community as the road project progresses. Residents who would like to receive email updates are strongly encouraged to use the “Notify Me” tool on the San Juan County website. Once on the sign-up page (which is admittedly a bit cumbersome), go to the very top and enter your email, and then hit the “Sign In” button. Once signed in, scroll down to the “News Flash” section and click the little envelope next to the category called “Pt. Lawrence Road/Doe Bay Road Repair Updates”. You’ll get an email asking you to confirm your subscription, and then you’ll be signed up for future updates.
• Once again, thanks to the Orcas community for their can-do spirit, generosity, patience, decency, and creative ingenuity in a difficult time. And also to the Public Works, OPALCO, Eastsound Water, and private contractor teams who have been working nearly around the clock to manage the impacts from the flooding. Thanks one and all!
• And last but not least, good luck to the Orcas Island and Friday Harbor high school soccer teams who are meeting at the WA State Championships this weekend in Sumner. For two of the top four small high school teams in WA to be from the islands is quite an accomplishment. Let’s all wish both teams good luck this weekend! Hopefully, San Juan County will have a state champion come Saturday night!