Upper Hoh River Road Phase 2

July 2017 Project Update:

The Western Federal Lands Highway Division (WFLHD) of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), in partnership with Jefferson County, proposes constructing bank stabilization and bridge and culvert improvements in six locations along the Upper Hoh River Road (UHRR). Located in western Jefferson County between U.S. Highway 101 (US 101) and the Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center, the UHRR provides access to the Olympic National Park (ONP) and private properties along the road. The road was built in the 1930s, when ONP was established, and is the primary western access to the park.

The project team is continuing design development, recently completing 70% design milestone, has begun to submit regulatory permit applications and will soon begin negotiations on legal agreements. The project recently published a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) and a Final Environmental Assessment (EA). Click on the links below to view the FONSI, as well as the EA and its Appendices:

Public Involvement

The information is based on best available data and will be updated as better data becomes available.

Project Description

This proposed project will develop and implement cost-effective, long-term bank stabilization solutions along a twelve-mile portion of the Upper Hoh River Road (UHRR) in western Jefferson County, Washington. The purpose of the proposed improvements is to provide safe and consistent access to residents, businesses and Olympic National Park (ONP) visitors via UHRR. The project will likely include construction activity at five locations along Upper Hoh River Road. The banks of the Hoh River will be stabilized between milepost 3.7 and 4.0, at milepost 4.4, and between milepost 7.3 and 7.8. In addition, the Tower Creek Bridge at milepost 7.3 will be repaired/replaced, and the Canyon Creek culvert at milepost 10.5 will be replaced with a bridge or culvert. These repairs/replacements will serve to stabilize adjacent river banks, reduce potential for flooding and road damage, and improve fish habitat. The project will explore several options for bank stabilization. Funding will dictate how many of the sites will be improved.

As part of bank stabilization activities to support flood protection, this project can also potentially address another need along the river: protecting or improving areas that encourage fish habitat creation. Bank stabilization activities can include removing or replacing existing potential barriers to the creation of fish habitat. As part of this project, rip-rap may be removed or reconfigured at the three bank stabilization sites. Fish habitat impacts are of concern given the importance of fish, especially the Chinook salmon, to the local and regional culture and economy.

Background

The UHRR serves as the only access road for the residents and businesses located along north side of the Hoh River. In addition, over 82,000 vehicles entered Olympic National Park (ONP) in 2014 using the UHRR. In August of 2015, 24,000 vehicles entered the ONP using the UHRR. The UHRR leads to the Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center, which is one of four year-round Visitor Centers/ranger stations in the ONP and the only year-round ranger station with access to the western side of the park.

Maintaining safe and consistent access along the UHRR has been increasingly difficult due to the dynamic hydrologic character of the nearby Hoh River, a braided river with shifting channels. For example, vegetation removal in the Hoh River drainage combined with recent changes in weather patterns (warmer temperatures and less snow) has resulted in rapidly-changing flow channel locations. The Hoh River is an active braided plain, meaning that flow channels are not always well-defined. These conditions have resulted in increasingly frequent damage to the roadway, limiting or interrupting access to ONP, local residences, and businesses.

Project Map

Map showing general vicinity of project
View a larger interactive map of the project area.

Project Details
Project # WA JEFF 91420(1)
Project Name Upper Hoh River Road Phase 2 Project
Location Jefferson County, WA
Status In Development

Contact Information

Kirk Loftsgaarden, Project Manager
(360) 619-7512
Email: kirk.loftsgaarden@dot.gov

Federal Highway Administration
Western Federal Lands Highway Division
610 East Fifth Street
Vancouver, WA 98661-3801