Crews are clearing the path for the re-routed section of U.S. Highway 101 set for construction at the historic Lewis and Clark Station Camp site.
The Washington State Department of Transportation is shifting roughly a mile of the highway away from the shore to straighten out a hazardous curve and to make room for a new riverfront park.
The project, a joint enterprise between WSDOT, the Washington State Historical Society, the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission and the National Parks Service, is projected to be completed by spring 2006.
The nine-acre park, part of the new Lewis and Clark National Historical Park, will commemorate the Corps of Discovery's arrival at the mouth of the Columbia, as well as the Native Americans who occupied the site and the 19th century salmon cannery that once operated there.
The project was put on hold early this year after archeologists discovered buried wooden boards believed to be remnants of a Chinook Indian plankhouse. After lengthy discussions the Historical Society reached an agreement with the Chinook Indian Nation that allowed the project to go ahead after additional archeological work at the site.
The highway realignment work is expected to cause few traffic disruptions, with the exception of the installation of two drainage culverts and the final connection of the new highway, when single-lane closures and delays of up to 20 minutes can be expected.