Lopezians have watched since the beginning of summer as the road work on Fisherman Bay has continued, but as summer comes to an end, thankfully, the roadwork will as well.
According to Dan Vekved, lead engineer for the Fisherman Bay road project, the work is entering its final stages.
“We start the final chip sealing (applying oil, then a gravel layer on top of that) this week, Sept. 14. For a new road like this one, we do two layers of chip sealing, and then next summer we’ll come back in and do a finish layer.”
The chip seal work is being done by Ramo Construction from Arlington, Wash. and this was stimulus money acquired from the federal government. The county obtained 416,000.00 for chip sealing and for fencing replacement along the road where people’s fencing was torn down during construction.
“The only hitch that delayed us at all were some bad underlying soils that we found and replaced with crushed rock,” Vekved said. “This will be a good all-weather road, and the extra rock will improve the drainage. We added four foot shoulders on either side on the main travelled roadway and added a pedestrian path down to the village, which is pervious concrete. It’s not regular concrete. It lets water run through it and this will cut down on slick walkways during freezing weather. We got a federal grant to do the path construction, and federal money to do the south third of the project (from the Pickerings’ property down to the Lopez library) and the middle third (that curves south of Cross Road) was state money. North was county money as well. We were able to get diverse sources of funding.”
The construction project has had great weather, and, according to Vekved, the contractor, Island Excavating from Orcas Island, who did the road construction, has been great to work with. The utilities groups have been responsive, and property owners have been understanding.
“We did have to barge in more rock. If the underlying soil is too soft, the road will suffer for it. We found soft clay as well and that needed to be cleaned up. Structurally, it’s just not strong enough,” Vekved commented.
The chip seal will be tentatively finished by the week of Sept. 21 and the fencing work will be done by October 7.
“With the chip seals, we do the main seal, then a fog seal of a light coat of asphalt. We hope to open to traffic at the end of next week, weather permitting, Sept. 18. Then we’ll have to close again for a few days later to do the fog seal. After that, we’re done.”