Work will resume Aug. 3 on a project to resurface 6.1 miles of Crystal Mountain Boulevard East from State Route 410 to the Crystal Mountain Resort after work was suspended July 6 due to fire precautions in the area.
The current schedule calls for work to be done between midnight and noon Sunday nights through Friday mornings to avoid the timeframe when fire danger is the greatest. However, crews may work six days a week if needed.
Due to fire danger created by recent dry conditions, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources has changed Industrial Fire Precaution Levels in the area around the project site since July 6.
Pierce County suspended the work July 6 when a precaution level of 4 was declared, which required that all work be suspended on projects within or adjoining state or federal forests. Under the current precaution level, equipment use is limited between 1-8 p.m. when fire danger is the greatest.
If the Department of Natural Resource declares an Industrial Fire Precaution Level 4 again, work may be suspended again. Pierce County will post updates at www.piercecountywa.org/crp5738.
Impacts to motorists
The project, which began June 29, also includes the replacement of guardrails. Three Silver Creek culverts will be replaced with bridges. The project will take place in the summer and fall months of 2015 and 2016, and the road will remain open during the two-year project.
This year, the road will be reduced to one lane with alternating traffic in the work areas, with flaggers on-site to direct traffic. Intermittent delays of up to 20 minutes are expected during working hours. Longer delays are expected periodically and may be posted by message board. Portable signal systems will be placed to control alternating one-way traffic in the work zones after work hours and on the weekends in the locations of new bridge construction.
Crews will continue to lower the road at existing culvert locations to a temporary grade to allow for the installation of the new bridges. Work at these locations is expected to last through October.
In the coming weeks, crews will likely resume clearing slopes of trees and shrubs located along the first two miles of Crystal Mountain Boulevard East as conditions allow.
About the project
Crystal Mountain Boulevard is a two-lane road owned by the U.S. Forest Service, but maintained by Pierce County. The road is the most expensive to maintain in the county due to its remote location and aging infrastructure.
“This project is needed to address the deteriorating roadway and failing guardrails, and reduce the risk of rockslides,” said Brian D. Stacy, P.E. Public Works county engineer. “It is cost effective to make these improvements now to address the aging infrastructure and enhance safety along with roadway. The project will allow the roadway to better handle regular maintenance and ultimately reduce annual maintenance costs.”
The businesses at the resort will remain open during the work. Homeowners will be able to access their mountain properties.
Two construction seasons are needed due to the weather, environmental permitting, and the remote location, which makes it difficult to haul in and stage construction materials. Work will be suspended during the winter.
Strider Construction Co. Inc. is the project’s contractor. The construction cost is approximately $12 million. The project is funded with an $8,256,200 grant from the Federal Highway Administration and $3,890,860 from the County Road Administration Board.
Crystal Mountain is accessed year-round by homeowners, businesses and recreational users who participate in snow sports, hiking, biking, horseback riding and more.
Henry Gertje, P.E., Public Works construction engineering supervisor
Anne Radford, Public Works public information officer