US 101 - Elwha River Bridge - Bridge Replacement

Project news

Upcoming Elwha River Bridge Open House Opportunities

Join WSDOT for an update on the Elwha River Bridge replacement project, hear estimated timelines for moving forward and answer any questions you may have.

Three venues open to the public include:

  • 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 20
    Port Angeles City Council Meeting
    321 East 5th Street, Port Angeles, WA
  • 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 21
    Forks Business and Professional Association
    411 Tillicum Lane (Department of Natural Resources building)
    Forks, WA
  • 12 p.m. Wednesday, Feb 21
    Forks Chamber of Commerce meeting
    Blakeslee’s Bar and Grill
    1222 South Forks Avenue
    Forks, WA

What's happening now on the US 101 Elwha River Bridge?

  • The US 101 Elwha River Bridge is open around the clock with no restrictions.
  • Toll Free Information Hotline: 1-888-633-4005.

Why is WSDOT focusing on the US 101 Elwha River Bridge?

Built in 1926, the 3-span, 388-foot concrete arch bridge has served the community over 90 years. Over the last couple of years, the Elwha River has dramatically changed its course and flow, leading to significant erosion around the bridge foundations. 

Preventive measures

WSDOT is monitoring the bridge closely using a variety of tools. Motorists can assume that if the bridge is open to traffic, it is safe to use. If the condition of the bridge begins to change, WSDOT could implement restrictions ranging from weight restrictions or lowered speed limits, to single-lane closures, to a total bridge closure.

The increased water flow resulting from two dams being removed from the river have caused much material to wash downstream. Since 2012, the riverbed at the bridge has lowered 14 feet.

The lowered riverbed revealed the piers' seals, promoting WSDOT to do borings to verify the depth of the foundations. The borings, done in October 2016, revealed that the foundations are on gravel, not bedrock. This finding was in contrast to what the original 1926 engineering plans showed. As a result, WSDOT immediately installed over 3,300 tons of riprap (large boulders) around both piers to help prevent further erosion. Additional monitoring using tilt meters, crack meters, water flow meters, surveys and visual observations are also taking place.

The End Result

WSDOT is exploring several options to keep traffic moving around the Olympic Peninsula. These options can be viewed on the project library. A reliable US 101 crossing over the Elwha River is vital to the well-being of the communities on the Olympic Peninsula. To that end, we have removed Alternatives 1, 2 and 3 (options that did not include a bridge) from further consideration because they do not meet that need. Additionally, we have removed Alternative 4 (retrofitting the existing bridge) as a long-term solution due to the 90-year-old age of the structure.

We are currently pursuing Alternative 7. We do not have a firm timeline for a construction, but we are moving forward aggressively.

We encourage you to review the alternatives and send your thoughts to WSDOT. You can also view alternatives suggested by members of the public on the Public Route Suggestions web page. 

Needs & benefits

The US 101 Elwha River Bridge is vital to the well-being of the communities on the Olympic Peninsula. Replacing the bridge will ensure that the US 101 route continues to be an option for decades to come.

Financial Information

Financial Data for PIN 310135F
Funding Source Amount ($ in thousands)
2003 Gas Tax (Nickel Funding) $0
2005 Gas Tax (TPA) $0
Pre-Existing Funds (PEF) $29,281
CWA $252
Total $29,533


Claudia Bingham Baker
Communications Manager
WSDOT Olympic Region

Toll Free Information Hotline
Information about bridge status is available by calling 1-888-633-4005. Please note this number does not accept messages.

Email Updates
Sign up for US 101 Elwha River Bridge alerts via email by doing the following:

  1. Sign up for email updates
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