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Illahee repair work could begin in September — permit permitting

Heated discussion filled the Brownsville Elementary School library Wednesday night.

Central Kitsap Commissioner Josh Brown and Kitsap County Public Works Design Manager Dick Dadisman, along with other county officials, hosted a community meeting with about 60 concerned Illahee residents earlier this week to discuss the Illahee Road repair schedule.

The Dec. 3 storm washed out a section of Illahee Road between California Street and Varsity Lane NE. Now five months later, Illahee residents are still forced to drive an extra 20 minutes around the washout to get to Silverdale or Bremerton and it looks like they should get used to their extended commutes.

Dadisman said the county completed about 70 percent of the new culvert design in February, but the permitting process is holding up construction.

“If you don’t think myself and my county staff lose sleep over these things, you’re wrong because we do,” Brown told the crowd of concerned residents.

Permits with the State Environmental Policy Act, state department of Fish and Wildlife and National Environmental Policy Act have been approved, Dadisman said, but the county still needs approval from the Army Corps of Engineers and Federal Highway Administration.

Dadisman estimates the county will have final approval from the Federal Highway Administration by mid-July. Then, Kitsap County will put the Illahee Road project up for bid and select a contractor.

Illahee residents and county officials agreed that state and federal government agencies are not acting quickly enough to approve permits and get the Illahee Road project underway.

“We’re being treated like this is a new project when we’re trying to still recover from the December storm,” Brown said.

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