Waterfront project, city Wi-Fi to start today in Port Angeles
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Arwyn Rice/Peninsula Daily News
The sculpture "Gandy Dancer" lies on its side, awaiting removal from Railroad Avenue. Traffic will be rerouted along the Port Angeles street while a waterfront enhancement project takes place.

By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News

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PORT ANGELES — The city of Port Angeles will move firmly into the 21st century, as public art displays are coming down this week in preparation for today's start of construction of the $3.9 million waterfront esplanade on Railroad Avenue.

Also today, a celebration of technology will be held by the city pier as Port Angeles marks becoming one big Wi-Fi hot spot.

“Gandy Dancer,” a steel sculpture of a railroad worker by Jim Mattern of Gig Harbor, lay on the ground Sunday, waiting to be put into storage with other works of art that are being temporarily removed by the Port Angeles Downtown Association.

Starting today, traffic will be blocked on Railroad Avenue, from Laurel to Oak streets as part of the $17 million Downtown Waterfront Development Project.

The overall project will include the reconstruction of the entire length of Railroad Avenue, as well as a transition to a more parklike atmosphere.

But “businesses on Railroad Avenue are open,” Glenn Cutler, Port Angeles public works and utilities director, stressed.

“It will be a challenging time for businesses in that area,” he said.

“People should think about patronizing those businesses.”

Construction will be temporarily halted Friday through Sunday, during the Dungeness Crab and Seafood Festival.

Then Railroad Avenue will close again until Dec. 31.

During the first phase of construction, Railroad Avenue will be closed from west of the Coho Ferry Dock to Oak Street.

Traffic will be re-routed around the construction zone, with a detour through the Railroad Avenue and the Front Street alleyway.

Primo Construction, a Clallam County-based company, won the bid to complete the work.

All work must be finished by Jan. 15, in time for a Department of Fish and Wildlife “fish window” for near-shore fish.

When the phase is complete, the city's public artwork will be “redeployed” to new locations on the new esplanade, Cutler said.

A second phase of the project will begin in March, he said.

In another new development, the entire city is becoming a Wi-Fi hot spot starting this morning, when city officials will launch the Metro-Net Wi-Fi service.

Port Angeles Mayor Cherie Kidd, Police Chief Terry Gallagher and city staff members will kick off the service at 10 a.m. at The Gateway pavilion, 125 E. Front St., for the launch of the citywide, $3.7 million Metro-Net wireless project.

The service will allow anyone within the city to have access to mobile Internet, and will be free through Oct. 31.

Metro-Net, powered by North Olympic Peninsula Internet service provider OlyPen, which is based in Sequim, also will allow emergency first-responders to have real-time access to information useful during crime or emergency responses.

After the introductory month, OlyPen will charge subscription fees of up to $34.95 per month for mobile users and $37.95 per month for fixed-point use.

When completed, the system may be the first citywide Wi-Fi system anywhere in the U.S. to share infrastructure with a separate, public first-responder network.

Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at arwyn.rice@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: October 07. 2012 6:19PM
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