BROWNSVILLE — Eager beavers — both real and figurative — are making life challenging for drivers on Brownsville Highway in Central Kitsap.
Eager beavers re-layering highway
As of June 12, road repairs continue on the Brownsville Highway between the Illahee Bridge and Madison Road. Drivers would be well-advised to plan to detour around the area via Ogle Road until probably June 19.
For some time now, hardworking road crews have been prepping that stretch of highway, filling dips and doing “grind outs” where the old surface is badly cracked, in preparation for putting down a new layer of asphalt, according to Kitsap County Road Superintendent Jacques Dean. The goal is to roll down the new layer towards the end of this week, “depending on the weather and completion of the repairs,” Dean said.
Real beavers flooding the highway
Curing the chronic flooding in the dip in the Brownsville Highway below the county’s sewer treatment plant will be more difficult, Dean said. Water over the highway there, in addition to damaging the asphalt and washing out the west shoulder, was also the cause of several accidents last spring.
“We were just out there,” Dean said. He explained that the problem is beavers building dams. The debris from their construction projects plugs up the inlet to the culvert designed to carry runoff from the uphill wetland to the east under the road to the wetland on the lower west side of the road.
Fixing the problem is complicated by several problems.
“[The dams are] on private property. It’s on wetlands. And we can’t work off of the right of way,” Dean said. To get permission to do any work, he said he is going to have to go through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, state Fish and Wildlife, and Kitsap County Public Health.
To further complicate matters, the runoff channel in the lower wetlands to the west has new ownership.
“The old owner … kept the channel open,” Dean said. Since the property changed hands, Dean said the channel has begun to clog up, helped along by the beavers. ‘We need to reach out to the new owners,” Dean said.
An added challenge to clearing the channel is that it is probably going to involve a lot of handwork. “You can’t get standard equipment in there,” Dean said. “It would sink right down into the peat bog and mud.”
— Terryl Asla is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.