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Liberty Bay Trail ready to break ground

POULSBO — After more than three years of waiting, the Liberty Bay Trail is gearing up to finally put one foot in front of the other.

And while the path along Fjord and Lemolo Shore drives will bring more safety for walkers, it will also give motorists along the route a little frustration for the next month or so.

Beginning Monday, crews from Gig Harbor’s Sound Excavation will begin work on the 2-mile pedestrian route. Work will start on the north end of the proposed trail near Lion’s Park and head south and will be taking place on both sides of the roadway during the 30-working-day contract.

On the east or upland side, a concrete crew will be cutting handicapped-accessible ramps into existing sidewalks and adding sidewalk sections where they are missing.

On the west or water side, work will be taking place on the shoulders to add the necessary 6 feet for the walking trail. The pedestrian path’s design comprises a 6-foot trail, two 10-foot traffic lanes and a 3-foot shoulder on the upland side. Because of the small amount of space on the roadway’s shoulders, Poulsbo Project Engineer Andrzej Kasiniak said the construction equipment will likely be a small excavator or bobcat and the crew will only be about three people.

Construction# work is permitted from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., any time during which crews are allowed to have traffic down to one alternating lane. Flaggers will be on hand to assist motorists. Typically, the City of Poulsbo restricts lane closures to off-peak traffic hours but Kasiniak said because the stretch only has only 1,400 car trips per day, such restrictions were considered unnecessary.

“But I would anticipate that the lane closures would only take place between about 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. anyway,” he added.

Though council members were happy to see the trail finally move forward, Public Works Committee members did express concerns April 14 about the construction conflicting with Viking Fest. The annual event takes place May 14-16 and both the Viking Fest Road Race and parade utilize Fjord Drive. Kasiniak said the contractor is aware of the event and will do everything possible to make sure it does not impact the weekend.

“We want to make sure we can get as far along as possible so we will not be an interruption during Viking Fest,” Kasiniak said. “During Viking Fest, that will be a non-working day and the contractor will make sure everything is cleaned up, put away and safe.”

The Liberty Bay Trail’s $300,000 price tag is paid through a $260,000 federal grant and $20,000 in matching funds from both the City of Poulsbo and Kitsap County.

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