Work will begin this week on a $12 million project to resurface 6.1 miles of Crystal Mountain Boulevard East from State Route 410 to the Crystal Mountain Resort, according to Pierce County officials.
The project will replace three Silver Creek culverts with precise bridge structures, resurface existing roadway, replace guardrails, and provide protections from rockslides. The work is being paid for using an $8.2 million grant from the Federal Highway Administration and approximately $3.9 million from the County Road Administration Board. Pierce County awarded a contract for the project to Strider Construction Co. in April. The project is expected to be completed during fall 2016.
“This project is needed to address the deteriorating roadway and failing guardrails, and reduce the risk of rockslides,” said Pierce County Public Works Engineer Brian D. Stacy. “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.”
Pierce County officials note the following regarding intermittent delays and lane reductions while the work is being completed:
- The road will remain open during the project, and work will take place on weekdays through late October;
- There will be intermittent delays beginning this week as crews start clearing slopes located along the first two miles of Crystal Mountain Boulevard East. Crews will also remove asphalt from the roadway at two culverts located near Crystal Mountain Resort. Work at these three locations is expected to last through October;
- Pierce County Public Works will coordinate activities with the contractor to minimize overall delays. The road will be reduced to one lane with alternating traffic in the three work areas, with flaggers on-site to direct traffic. There will be intermittent delays in both directions that could last up to 10 minutes. Occasional delays requiring more than 10 minutes are anticipated and will be posted by message board. Motorists should allow additional travel time to reach the resort;
- Portable signal systems will control alternating one-way traffic in the work zones after work hours and on the weekends;
- After the 4th of July weekend, activities will pick up at the two culvert locations as crews start removing loose rock from the mountainside and lowering the road to a temporary grade to allow for the installation of two new box culverts. Similar work at the third culvert is expected to begin later in the summer;
- The businesses at the resort will remain open during the work. Homeowners will be able to use the access road to 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, and will not impact winter use;
“We recognize that it is important to local businesses, visitors and homeowners that the roadway remain open and the mountain accessible,” said Stacy. “Therefore, we are staging construction in order to keep the roadway open at all times.”
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 Pierce County due to its remote location and aging infrastructure, according to Pierce County officials. Crystal Mountain is accessed year-round by homeowners, businesses and recreational users who participate in snow sports, hiking, biking, horseback riding, and more.
More information about the project is available online here.