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Tunnel project forges ahead

State transportation officials are optimistic work will begin on the downtown Bremerton pedestrian access project, otherwise known as the tunnel, this year.

“Our hoped and planned start date is late 2005 or early 2006 and we’re real optimistic about that,” said Neal Campbell, spokesman for the Washington state Department of Transportation.

Completion of the $28 million project should take about 18 months from start to finish, Campbell said.

Weather should not affect the start date of the project since most of the work can be done in any kind of weather, he said.

Currently the project’s environmental assessment is being reviewed by federal agencies and should be ready for the public in March or April at the latest, he said.

“We took two proposals forward just in case one had a fatal flaw, and we really haven’t found anything in our studies,” he said. “It’s amazing how little impact the project will have.”

Other than some Bremerton residents being opposed to the project, everything else has gone smoothly, he said.

While funding for the project has been promised and will likely be available for the project to move ahead, it isn’t totally in place, he said.

“We’ve had lots of promises but nothing concrete yet,” Campbell said.

City economic development director Gary Sexton said the city is well aware of the state’s timetable for the project.

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