RIDGEFIELD — Ridgefield residents have a herd of once-endangered deer to thank for the latest delay on the Pioneer Street Railroad Overpass Project, as the overpass once scheduled to wrap up by the end of this year still waits to go out to bid.
The $14 million project received its last bit of funding in February 2016, with construction expected to start in 2017 and last 12 to 18 months. The Port of Ridgefield’s project will connect Pioneer Street to the port’s property, making it easier to get from downtown to the waterfront area.
The question as to when that connection will be made is still up in the air. Port of Ridgefield CEO Brent Grening was hoping the project could go out to bid in March, but the port now has to reopen its environmental impact study, which was originally done in 2008. That means another few months before the project can go out to bid, and putting “best case scenario” for completion of the overpass on track to be done in late 2019, as long as it doesn’t hit any other delays in the process.
“Projects like this, they’re complex,” Grening said. “I’m still wanting to go to bid this year. I still think we can get there. We’re still shooting to be out this year to bid.”
The cause of the most recent delay is a herd of Columbian white-tailed deer. About 35 deer were relocated to the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge starting in 2013 from the Julia Butler Hansen Refuge for the Columbian White-Tailed Deer near Cathlamet, according to Christopher Lapp, Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge Complex project leader.