SEAL ROCK — Visitors to Driftwood Creek State Recreation Site will find the popular beachside park is cordoned off by a 20-foot metal wall of shipping containers meant to block sound from the first phase of the construction for the PacWave South wave energy project.

The parking area and restrooms at Driftwood will remain closed for the next 8-10 months as construction crews build an underground landing point to connect miles of undersea cable to the PacWave South project’s onshore monitoring facility near Wenger Lane off Highway 101.

While the beach near the site remains open, the PacWave team has asked all visitors to steer clear of the areas under construction until further notice.

”Driftwood is a very busy and very active construction site. As such, we ask that people do not come to see what is going on,” PacWave Deputy Director Dan Hellin wrote in a Wednesday press release. “Only authorized personnel are allowed on site, and all visitors must be accompanied at all times. Unexpected visitors on site put their own safety, and that of the crews in jeopardy. So please try to avoid the area.”

Pedestrian access to the beach will remain open via a new trail that runs from the access road to the restroom building, but visitors are asked to stay on the path at all times and follow the signs leading to the beach. The restrooms are closed, but a portable restroom will be available for use by the public until they reopen.

Road access to Driftwood is currently restricted to authorized vehicles only for the duration of the construction. The PacWave team asks that visitors do not enter or try to park on the access road as it will be in constant use by construction-related trucks and vehicles.

The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department advises visitors seeking parking or beach access to consider using one of the other nearby state parks instead, such as Seal Rock State Recreation Site, Governor Patterson Memorial State Recreation Site and Brian Booth State Park. All are located less than five miles away from Driftwood.

When construction at the site finishes, Driftwood will have newly renovated parking lots, sidewalks and improved restroom facilities with added ADA accessibility, as per the PacWave team’s agreement with the OPRD. A habitat mitigation plan agreement with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will also require the PacWave team to restore any natural habitat disturbed by the boring and parking lot reconstruction. 

The double-stacked wall of shipping containers erected around the northern and western sides of the parking lot are meant to help mitigate noise from the construction for surrounding properties.  According to Hellin, shipping containers work better than a traditional sound wall due to the amount of wind Driftwood experiences. 

All manner of drill rigs, pumps, mud shakers, centrifuges, drilling rods and other pieces of heavy equipment have been arriving on site by truck over the course of the last two weeks.

For updates on the construction or more information on the PacWave project, go to pacwaveenergy.org.

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