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SR- 166 facing closure again
"Commuters may want to consider plotting out an alternate route soon between Port Orchard and Bremerton, since State Route 166 at Ross Point could be closed for additional slide repairs in early August.State Department of Transportation officials expect to sign papers Monday with Olympia-based DLB Earthwork Construction, giving the go-ahead on the $600,000 slide-proofing endeavor. Besides outlining an aggressive work schedule, the state-driven contract directs the construction company to reopen SR-166 and complete the job within 30 days of signing the document. As it stands now, that means do-or-die day is Aug. 31, state officials say. That means, according to the contract, crews must finish by end of day Aug. 31, or monetary penalties could be incurred.DLB planners say that so long as the contract passes muster Monday, crews could that day prepare the hillside for work. Work on the highway wouldn't begin for another seven to 10 days after that, officials say.The Port Orchard City Engineer estimated this year that some 18,000 cars travel along SR 166 every day.That figure worries City Council members about the length of the highway closure.But Amity Trowbridge, a DOT mudslide control engineer, assured the council members earlier this year that crews will finish the comprehensive slide-proofing project on time, and with the least inconvenience to commuters. At first DOT officials wanted to impose only partial closures, but that idea proved too dangerous. Total closure is the only way, they say.Originally estimated as a $750,000 job, DOT officials say the slide-proofing task is expected to fix the unstable hillside on SR 166 facing Sinclair Inlet between Ross Point Creek and downtown Port Orchard. That particular section, at which a rock buttress will be formed, is about 260 feet long where hill meets roadway, Trowbridge said. This year's project, she said, is half as large as last fall's work.Current designs also call for installing 11 horizontal drains to rid the soil of excess water, which can make for an unstable slope.Officials say that, along with this work, crews are expected to remove excess dirt from the slope at Ross Point Creek, and landscape and construct small walls that could catch any future sloughing."