News

Storm’s wrath leaves numerous roads damaged

By PAUL BALCERAK

Staff writer

The flood waters have receded, leaving a trail of destruction in their path.

Work on many damaged roads will be ongoing well into the New Year.

“We’ve gone through the worst of it and now it’s just a matter of going out and fixing the roads that are damaged,” Kitsap County Commissioner Josh Brown said on Tuesday.

He and Public Works Director Randy Casteel spent Tuesday morning touring flood sites and assessing damage to local roads.

“I think if you look at the list, the majority of the damage is in Central Kitsap,” Casteel said.

His “list” of flooded and damaged roads was seven pages long on Tuesday.

Among the long-term repair projects the county faces:

• Repair work on the Chico bridge collapse is expected to take six to nine months.

• A large section of Illahee Road between Varsity and California Street was washed away and will take three to six months to replace.

• A lane on Brownsville Highway from SR-303 to Illahee washed away and will take two to three months to repair.

• A sinkhole on Trenton Road at Stoneway will take three to six weeks to fix.

Some roads have been closed indefinitely while the county continues to assess damages and estimate repair times.

“We’ve been working 24-hour days,” Casteel said. “We’re out trying to fix things as fast as possible.”

The county also has contracted several jobs out to local firms to speed up repairs.

Funding for the repairs will come out of the county’s regular roads budget, meaning some projects that were planned before the storm may be scratched.

“Unlike the federal government where you have some luxuries (like being able to overspend their budget), we have limited resources,” Brown said.

The county could be eligible for relief funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, thanks to the state of emergency declared by Governor Chris Gregoire during the storm. But Casteel said not to expect much, if any, and said applications for funds usually take months to process.

Area residents, meanwhile, are resuming life as usual after some dramatic scenarios played out during the weekend and early in the week.

When a sinkhole opened up on Miami Beach Road in Seabeck on Monday, swallowing a Jeep Liberty in the process, several residents were stranded.

“Only one way in, one way out, that’s the bad thing,” Seabeck resident Terry McCutcheon said on Tuesday. “No one’s going to school, no one’s going to work, no one’s doing anything.”

County officials provided Access busses for people stranded on Miami Beach. The hole was filled and the road was reopened on Wednesday.

Most agreed the storm was the worst they’d ever seen.

“(The water) ran right past our house like a river,” Seabeck resident Sharon Conway said. “I have lived out here all my life and never have seen the water like this. And I’m 64.”

Kenny Hurt of Illahee said his brother stopped his car just short of a huge section of Illahee Road that was washed away by flood waters.

“(My brother) just stopped — something told him to stop — and he watched the guard rail bend and the road just go (down into a ravine).”

The county called in help from the Navy on Wednesday to fill sandbags in an effort to quell continued flooding in streams. Civilians and sailors from the Intermediate Maintenance Facility at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor and sailors from the Navy Submarine Support Center and Marine Corps Security Force Company worked to assist and helped out for about three hours.

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