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Upper Hoh River Road Phase 2

The Western Federal Lands Highway Division (WFLHD) of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), in partnership with Jefferson County, is in the process of constructing bank stabilization and bridge and culvert improvements in five  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 currently overseeing the construction of the project. In 2021, The Canyon Creek bridge was constructed and 10 of the Engineered Log Jams were installed. Construction of the remainder of the project will continue through late summer of 2023. Click on the links below to view documents with information regarding the background of this project.

Public Involvement

Project Description

This  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 improvements is to provide safe and consistent access to residents, businesses and Olympic National Park (ONP) visitors via UHRR. The project includes construction activities 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 replaced, and the Canyon Creek culvert at milepost 10.5 will be replaced with a bridge (completed 2021). These replacements will serve to stabilize adjacent river banks, reduce potential for flooding and road damage, and improve fish habitat.  Bank stabilization along the Upper Hoh River Road consists of Engineered Log Jams (ELJs) that are composed of large logs, woody brush, riprap, and concrete Dolosse. Details on the ELJs can be found in Appendix E and the other documents linked above.

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.

Newsletters

Newsletters are sent out weekly with updates and photos of the ongoing construction of this project. Email the Project Engineer if you would like to be included on the mailing list, or view the links below:

Anticipated Timeline

  • Construction: Winter 2021 - Summer 2023
  • Project Completion: Late Summer 2023