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Creek 'Friends' to present alternative road plan

"Still doubting that Island County's plan to rebuild a two-lane Glendale Road through a salmon stream wildlife area is the best idea, the Friends of Glendale Creek will present an alternate road plan Feb. 7 they hope county engineers will consider.For more than a year, Island County road engineers have thrown their design efforts and support behind a two-lane road design to replace a section of Glendale Road washed out by flooding in January 1997. Construction of 1,800 feet of roadway and more than 100 feet of retaining wall above the Glendale community is expected to start this spring.However, a number of Glendale residents, salmon fishermen and others in South Whidbey have objected to the plan since it was unveiled last March. Many of those people wanted the road closed entirely, but county officials -- including County Commissioner Mike Shelton -- say the road must be reopened to provide reliable access to Glendale.Still, there is a middle ground between the two viewpoints, said Don Miller, a spokesman for Friends of Glendale Creek. Miller and the Friends will present a plan of their own Feb. 7 under which the county could build a single-lane, limited access road. The meeting with the Island County Commissioners will be held in the South Whidbey High School Commons at 7 p.m.That seems to be a reasonable alternative, he said. The Friends are putting the plan forward after having the Glendale roadbed evaluated by their own geotechnical engineer. Miller said a narrower road would have less chance of sliding again than would a two-lane road. He also said the county could save money because it might not need to build as large a retaining wall with a smaller road.The Friends are concerned about how a large construction project might effect the health of Glendale Creek. A few dozen salmon returned to the creek last fall, salmon who will be able to breed in the upper reaches of the creek once upstream culvert work is finished as part of the county's road reconstruction.The entire reconstruction project is expected to cost the county just under $1.2 million. Much of that price will be picked up by the Federal Emergency Management Administration. The Feb. 7 meeting is open to the public. Thus far, Miller said, no Island County engineering officials have been invited to the meeting. "

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