Tuesday, Mar 20 2012 - 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.
The Public Works Department is supervising the design, right-of-way acquisition and permitting process.
The upgrade will increase the width of the road between North Beach Road and Terrill Beach Road by 10 feet so the road will now be 30 feet wide including 4-foot shoulders. The Terrill Beach Road intersection will be improved to increase visibility for vehicles turning left across Mt Baker to Terrill Beach Road. Drainage will be enhanced by replacing cross culverts, raising portions of the road, and improving or installing ditches. “Narrow Area Vegetated Filter Strips” will filter and treat stormwater to improve the quality of runoff water.
The project also includes a 5-foot wide pedestrian trail leading from North Beach Road to the Land Bank Stonebridge Preserve access gate where it will connect to a new parking area and trailhead for a new Land Bank primitive interpretive trail. The trail will be surfaced with pervious concrete to Buck Park, then gravel the rest of the way.
A wetland mitigation project on the Land Bank’s Stonebridge Preserve will be enhancing six acres of existing degraded wetlands. The mitigation design calls for widening two existing ditches into plant-filled swales and creating three shallow pools planted with thousands of wetland plants, shrubs, and trees.
San Juan County received a $2.516 million dollar Rural Arterial Trust Account (RATA) grant from the state to help pay for design, right of way acquisition, and construction. An additional Federal Transportation Enhancement grant of $88,000 was received for the adjacent trail project. Public Works has requested Federal Surface Transportation Program (STP) funding for an additional $700,000 which will be applied to both the road and trail construction.
Mt. Baker Road was designated by ordinance as the truck bypass route around Eastsound 15 years ago. Improvements between Lovers Lane and North Beach Road were completed in 1997.