Glendale road job begins
June 25, 2008 · Updated 12:26 PM
"Downtown Glendale is a construction zone now as a contractor is working to replace the road and install a salmon-friendly outlet to the sea.Jim Larsen / staff photoTo most islanders, the big storm of late 1996-97 is just a memory, or a few snowy pictures in a photo album. But the residents of the little seaside community of Glendale still live with it every day.The road through town has been little more than a mud trail since a foot of snow fell in the last week of December 1996, and then was washed away by hours of torrential rains on New Year's Eve. Oldtimers had to go back to 1950 before they could recall a similar snowstorm, and the snow/rain combination was probably unmatched in recorded history.Glendale, situated on the bottom of a hill where Glendale Road ends, found itself a temporary river town on New Year's Day. Water cascaded down past the few houses that line either side of the road, and washed out an underground culvert, carving a new stream bed alongside the road.But there was a bright side. The washed-out culvert had blocked salmon from Glendale Creek for 50 years, and late in 1997 they returned again. Since then, Island County has been designing and seeking funding for road repairs that would not hamper the new salmon run.That objective has now been partly achieved. Plans to restore the two-lane Glendale Road all the way up the canyon are still controversial and opposed by local residents and others, but there's no argument about the downtown Glendale repairs. So that work started last week with little fanfare.For the work now under way, the contract went to Callen Construction of Custer. Callen bid $425,272 for the Glendale job.The scope of work calls for constructing a new permanent channel for Glendale Creek to replace the temporary channel built after the 1996-97 storm, and rebuilding the downtown area of Glendale Road to a narrow two-lane roadway, as well as culvert and storm drain work and stream outfall work on the beach.Island County Engineer Lew Legat said he hopes this portion of the road work is finished before the salmon arrive, an event which in the past few years has occurred around November. Residents urged the county to make Glendale Road one-way as an emergency exit in case Humphrey Road, the only other access to the community, should ever slide. The one-way alternative would have left a trail-like atmosphere for people to walk along the creek under a canopy of tree limbs. However, the county has gone ahead with plans to reopen the two lanes of the road, and those plans were upheld on appeal by the Island County Hearing Examiner. The aim of the overall project, states the notification of contract award, is to restore Glendale Creek to an open channel for anadromous fish spawning and migration and to reopen Glendale Road to two-way traffic as existed prior to the storm.The controversial canyon portion of the work is budgeted for construction some time next year, according to Legat. "