Washington state is abandoning its transportation project at Port Angeles, after spending $58 million there. The decision by the state Department of Transportation was in response to a request

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Washington state is abandoning its transportation project at Port Angeles, after spending $58 million there.


The decision by the state Department of Transportation was in response to a request Dec. 10 by the Lower Elwha Klallam tribe to leave the site. Construction of a dry dock there inadvertently disturbed more than 300 intact skeletons of the tribe’s ancestors and uncovered an ancient Klallam Village, Tse-whit-zen. Portions of the village date back 17 centuries.


The state was building the dry dock to construct pontoons and anchors needed to replace the east half of the Hood Canal Bridge, which is past its useful life. Another location will now have to be found for that work.

The village is the most important archaeological find discovered in Washington.

The decision to leave the site, announced today, was made in consultation with the governor, tribe and elected officials.

“We do not come to this conclusion lightly,” said DOT Secretary Doug MacDonald in a prepared statement.

“Despite the mutual good-faith efforts of both the tribe and WSDOT to develop an acceptable place to allow construction work to continue at the Port Angeles site, we have jointly determined it is not possible,” he said. “Therefore it is time for the state to turn its attention to finding another location that provides greater certainty for the important construction work necessary for the Hood Canal Bridge rehabilitation.”

Lynda Mapes: lmapes@seattletimes.com