Illahee Road now ready for travel — finally

Illahee Road, between California Street and Varsity Lane NE, reopened Thursday after more than 10 months. The road was washed out by the December 2007 storm.  - Jesse Beals/staff photo
Illahee Road, between California Street and Varsity Lane NE, reopened Thursday after more than 10 months. The road was washed out by the December 2007 storm.
— image credit: Jesse Beals/staff photo

After much delay and bureaucratic red tape, two road projects in Kitsap County have already been finished or are close to completion within the next few weeks, much to the relief of drivers and homeowners in the area.

The biggest one is the Illahee Road project, which was completed Thursday by RV & Associates of Port Orchard at cost of $591,000.

A section of the road and the culvert, between California Street and Varsity Lane NE, was washed out in last December's rain storm.

The construction started in August and a new fish passage-friendly culvert was installed. Measuring 10 feet in diameter and 160 feet in length, it should withstand another massive storm. Stream bed material also was added, along with backfill for the roadway embankment.

Central Kitsap Comissioner Josh Brown said there will be a groundbreaking ceremony at 10 a.m Thursday, Oct. 23. Traffic will be restricted to one lane during the ceremony. Brown will be there, along with Kitsap County Public Works officials and other invited guests. The celebration will be held adjacent to the road near the section that was washed out.

"A lot of folks out there have been terrific," he said. "They've been patient" with us over the delays.

Brown also said having the bulk of the project paid for by funding from federal and state sources meant having to deal with their process – which meant lengthy delays in getting the necessary permits.

Also getting the green light soon is Tracyton Boulevard.

The closure, located 150 feet south of Barker Creek Road, was closed in early September so Mid Puget Sound Fisheries Enhancement Group could complete a 73-foot long, 36-foot wide bottomless culvert to improve fish passage and tidal flows.

Kitsap County Public Works Spokesman Doug Bear estimates the project will be done by Dec. 19.

Another project soon to get underway is the reconstruction of the Chico Bridge, also damaged in last year's storm. As soon as the county gets permits from the state Department of Transportation and the Army Corps of Engineers, they hope to open the project to bids in January 2009.

If all goes to plan, construction will begin in April 2009, with a target for completion at the end of next year.

"It's completely random that all of these projects are getting done at the same time," Brown said. "(But) we wanted to get them completed before the heavy rains and winter came.

"It's going to be a little busy."

For more information, visit the county's Web site at or call the Open Line at (360) 337-5777.

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