Fiber optic cable work requires overnight closures of Hurricane Ridge Road

Staff reportMay 18, 2014 

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Olympic National Park visitors will be able to drive Hurricane Ridge Road during the day, on weekends and holidays, but the road will be closed at night for three weeks while crews install a fiber optic cable.

KEITH THORPE — AP

There will be overnight and early morning closures of Hurricane Ridge Road while crews install a fiber optic cable. The work is scheduled to start Monday and run through June 5.

Olympic National Park maintenance crews will work three weeks to install 12 miles of cable from Heart o’the Hills to Hurricane Ridge. The fiber optic cable will improve phone and digital communications from Hurricane Ridge, will improve the park’s two-way radio system and will reduce the park’s yearly utility costs by nearly $19,000, according to a park news release.

To accommodate the work, Hurricane Ridge Road will be open daily from 10 a.m. to sunset, and will remain fully open on weekends and Memorial Day, May 26.

Crews will work from 5 a.m.-3:30 p.m. daily; drivers should use caution and be alert for flaggers and workers along the road when it is open.

The Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center will be open daily throughout the work period, although some services may be limited on weekdays due to reduced electrical power. Full services will be offered weekends and Memorial Day.

Currently, phone and minimal data connections to Hurricane Ridge are provided through a microwave system which by today’s standards, is slow, unreliable and has limited capacity, park managers said. The new fiber optic cable will not only provide lower-cost communications, but will also supply reliable phone service to Hurricane Ridge and greatly increase bandwidth, allowing both park and concessioner staff to take advantage of technological advances.

For years, park communications, webcam images and weather data have been restricted by the limited capacity of the microwave system, which cost the park approximately $12,000 per year in lease fees. The new cable also will allow relocation of a key component of the park’s two-way radio system from a leased site outside the park to Hurricane Ridge, saving another $6,600 annually.

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