It's official: feds ratify 'Alternative B' in fix for Cattle Point Road

Persistent erosion threatens the stability of a coastal bluff below San Juan Island
Persistent erosion threatens the stability of a coastal bluff below San Juan Island's Cattle Point Road.
— image credit: Contributed photo/NPS

About 300 feet.

That's how far a section of Cattle Point Road will be moved uphill at the south end of San Juan Island, along the west-facing slope of Mount Finlayson, to prevent it from falling into the sea.

After nine years of study and review, National Parks Service, Federal Highway Administration and Western Federal Lands Highway Division announced Tuesday that each has approved "Records of Decision" in which alternative B of the Cattle Point realignment project is selected as the course of action in safeguarding the road from ongoing erosion.

Alternative B was identified in September in the project's final environmental impact statement as the preferred alternative for realignment of the road. It calls for moving a 4,950-foot section of the road about 300-feet upslope from its present location, which skirts along Mount Finlayson, and is expected to protect the road from erosion for about 100 years.

Approval of the Records of Decision allows those agencies to begin final design and construction of the project, pending funding.

“The realignment of Cattle Point Road will preserve road access through San Juan Island National Historical Park to Cape San Juan, and to the light house and picnic areas at Cattle Point,” San Juan Island National Historical Park Superintendent Lee Taylor said. “The National Park Service and San Juan County are collaborating to obtain funding to complete this important project.”

Owned and maintained by San Juan Couty, Cattle Point Road weaves through National Parks Service property and remains the only paved access to the south end of the island, and to the neighborhoods of Cape San Juan and Cattle Point Estates. The road realignment project is a partnership between the Federal Highways Administration, National Park Service, San Juan County, and Washington Department of Natural Resources.

Approval of the ROD is the final step in the National Environmental Policy Act process. The ROD outlines the rationale for the decision and measures to minimize environmental harm that will be incorporated into the final road design and construction.

The Cattle Point Road Realignment Project RODs are available for download or viewing at Print copies are located at the San Juan Island Library in Friday Harbor.



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