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Grant, donation boosts Clear Creek bridge

For years people have crossed Clear Creek behind Ross Plaza via a small dirt path.

Rocks and debris were thrown into the water so people could walk across, inhibiting the path of spawning salmon.

However, a confluence of events — the receipt of grant money and donation of land easements — have boosted plans to build a bridge at the crossing.

“There are two main purposes,” said Pat Fuhrer, a principal with MAP Ltd. of Silverdale. “The kids always used it as a crossing there anyway and it gives the trail a good east-west connection — we really never had that before.”

MAP Ltd. did the engineering work and obtained permits for the bridge, Fuhrer said.

The crossing will provide access to the mall as well as an educational vantage.

“It is a beautiful area where people can observe salmon in the stream and observe wildlife,” said Tex Lewis, co-chair of the Clear Creek Task Force.

The bridge will be approximately 122 feet long by 8 feet wide and will cost an estimated $100,000 — one third of the total grant money allotted for trail improvements to include a restroom, kiosks and interpretive signs.

Bids are being taken for the project, and the lowest bidder will win.

“People would be able to build a pre-fab bridge and install it. It’s a design-build project, so it is flexible for bidders,” said Larry Cote, the project coordinator at the Kitsap County Parks and Recreation Department.

Building codes stipulate the bridge must have a concrete surface, that it be free span (or have no supports in the middle) and is able to withstand 58,000 pounds, Fuhrer said.

Cote said he hopes the bridge will be complete by April 1, 2002.

Easements for the project were provided by local developer Ron Ross and the California firm that owns Ross Plaza, CT Operating Properties, LP.

Ross said he kept the land, which is “30 feet wide and a few hundred feet long” in case there was a need to build a road. He said the land is “virtually worthless” because of its proximity to Clear Creek.

Ross’ wife Nadean has volunteered at various Clear Creek projects, he said.

The Clear Creek project will continue long after the bridge is completed.

“Our long-term vision is to have the trail follow both sides of the stream all the way down so business on both sides (have access),” Lewis said.

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