By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News
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Work began Thursday on a $1.01 million project to build two small “pocket beaches” along the Port Angeles waterfront just west of downtown.
The beaches will lie along the waters of Port Angeles Harbor, between the Valley Creek estuary to the west and the waterfront esplanade to the east.
They form the first part of the city's larger $3.62 million West End Park project.
Detour signs direct pedestrian traffic from the sidewalk on the north side of Front Street to the sidewalk on the south side starting at South Oak Street west to Valley Creek Estuary Park.
Nathan West, the city's community and economic development director, said he expects access to be limited to the area until the entire West End Park project is completed, probably in spring 2015.
No street closures are expected, West added.
City Council members in June approved the beach construction contract with Port Angeles-based Bruch and Bruch Construction, no relation to City Councilwoman Sissi Bruch.
Crews have begun grading work that will allow construction machinery to reach the areas where beach work will be done, West said.
Work also has begun on the upland portions of the beaches, West said. In-water work can be done only between July 16 and Jan. 15 to ensure that fish migrating along the shorelines are not affected.
West said the city has applied for permission to start work July 7.
Two more portions this year
Work on the beaches is expected to be wrapped up by the end of the year, West said, though the public will have to wait to walk on them until the next two portions are done.
“We're working to accomplish all of [the three portions] in a one-year period,” West said.
These two portions, planned to be built one at a time, will install a paved path taking the Olympic Discovery Trail through the park, West said, and add three public plazas to the city-owned land along the water just west of North Oak Street.
The construction costs of all three portions is expected to be about $2.48 million, West said.
With project contingency, design and project management costs included, the total project expenses are about $3.62 million, West said.
City staff have secured between $1.7 million and $1.8 million in federal and state grants for the construction of West End Park, West said. The city will pay for the remainder.
Once built, the trail section will connect with the stretch built as part of the city's $3.9 million esplanade project to the east.
Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at email@example.com.