By RACHEL BRANT
Central Kitsap Reporter Staff writer
November 14, 2008 · Updated 3:12 PM
A flimsy board is the only connector between two sections of Clear Creek Trail off Trigger Avenue in Silverdale.
That’s why Clear Creek Task Force co-chair Tex Lewis enlisted the help of Olympic College’s Engineers Without Borders student organization from the Bremerton campus.
The Clear Creek Task Force and Engineers Without Borders are raising money to build a 40- to 60-foot span bridge on the trail to better accommodate trail walkers, runners and bikers.
“We want to improve access to the trail,” said Engineers Without Borders Vice President Jason Martin.
Lewis, a civil engineer, is involved with the local chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers who told him about the OC student organization.
“It was kind of a nice fit,” he said.
Engineers Without Borders was officially chartered as an OC organization at the end of last year and has 20-25 members. The Clear Creek Trail bridge project will be their first club project and the first actual construction project for many of the students.
Lewis created a bridge design himself and applied for a grant to fund the project. The first grant was not approved and the Clear Creek Task Force applied for a second grant.
“We’re hopeful,” Lewis said.
While he created his own design to get a cost estimate, Engineers Without Borders had the area surveyed and created a couple potential bridge designs of their own.
“I want them to kind of go through the process and come up with a solution themselves,” Lewis said.
Martin said the bridge will more than likely be constructed of wood and must be wheelchair accessible.
“Two wheelchairs have to be able to pass at the same time,” he said. “We’re still in the design process.”
Martin said they hope to have the design finalized by the end of OC’s winter quarter and start construction sometime next spring or summer.
“Most of us would like to finish this before graduating and moving to four-year schools,” he said.
Engineers Without Borders President Chelsea Macomber said she’s glad the group’s first project involves the Clear Creek Trail.
“I love doing it, honestly,” she said. “It’s not only nice to do something that we’ll use, but something other people will use.”
Engineers Without Borders member Robby Crone said he frequently runs on sections of the Clear Creek Trail and is glad the OC organization will help make the Trigger Avenue section of the trail more accessible to people.
Lewis said he is very happy Engineers Without Borders agreed to take on this project and it will benefit both the trail and the OC engineering students.
“I think it’s a wonderful group and I’m really happy we got involved with them,” Lewis said. “I think it’s going to work out very, very well. They’ll learn a lot by doing this.”
Macomber and Martin said Engineers Without Borders is looking to partner with four-year universities to work on local projects together.
“We’re trying to partner with other four-year universities since we’re only a two-year school,” Martin said.
Even though the Clear Creek Trail project has yet to be completed, Macomber said the group is looking for future projects to work on in the area.
“We’re willing to take on any projects within driving distance,” Martin said. “We’re not just limited to Kitsap County.”
Martin added that Engineers Without Borders members hope the Clear Creek Trail bridge project and other projects will lay the foundation for future members of the OC student organization.
For more information on how to donate money or supplies to the Clear Creek Trail bridge project, e-mail Engineers Without Borders at firstname.lastname@example.org or e-mail the Clear Creek Task Force at email@example.com.