Why bother fixing lower Elfendahl Pass Road?

The in basket: Mary Axter of North Shore Road in North Mason says she and her husband walk the lower nearly two miles of Elfendahl Pass Road, closed to vehicles since the historic December 2007 rains washed it out , and wonder why the county is bothering to rebuild it.

Work hasn’t begun, but she said they have seen surveyors at work, who say they often are asked the same question, why?

It seems like the money could be better spent on something else, like the highway between Bremerton and Gorst, or for sidewalks in Belfair, she said.

The out basket: Mason County Engineer Brian Matthews says that short stretch of Elfendahl Pass Road is the only link between North Shore Road and Belfair-Tahuya Road except for the ends of each. “It provides a valuable alternative route between the two roads, in the event access is blocked by acts of nature or other needs to close either North Shore or the Belfair-Tahuya Road,” he said.

Fire and sheriff’s officials both favor its restoration. he said. “The road reduces the first responders travel time by shortening the route to get from North Shore Road to Belfair-Tahuya Road,” he said.

The highway between Bremerton and Gorst is a state highway and improvements of it aren’t interchangeable with a county project. Also the money to rebuild Elfendahl Pass Road is federal emergency management money, except for 12.5 percent of the cost the county must kick in, and must go to undo the damage the rain emergency caused.

“Road abandonment for trail use (as some have suggested) would require that the county remove the roadway and related infrastructure,” Brian said. “It is estimated that the cost to mitigate the road is much greater then the repair cost,”  estimated to be between $1.6 and $1.9 million. “I believe that the county would be required to abate the roadway to prevent the roadway material from eroding into the creek and degrading the water and habitat quality,” he said.

County crew will do the work, beginning in September.

One thought on “Why bother fixing lower Elfendahl Pass Road?

  1. Leave it alone – just fix it for driving use. Elfendahl Pass Road been there forever and one day. It was the link to camping and riding from Tahuya Horse Camp to visit my mother the summer of her heart attack.
    The road belongs there to be used for the citizens of the North Shore Road and ….

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