Tribal Government & News

Road project will limit access to Tribal Reservation lands

09.15.2015 Dean Rhodes Natural Resources, Public Safety

By Dean Rhodes

Smoke Signals editor

A $1.8 million project will limit access to the heart of the Grand Ronde Reservation on Agency Creek and Yoncalla Creek roads starting this week.

Starting on Monday, Sept. 14, Pacific Excavation of Eugene will close both roads at their intersection and access will not be permitted between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The roads will be open at all other times, said Pacific Excavation Project Manager Spencer Chamberlain.

The project will include road rehabilitation, replacing culverts and asphalt repaving of two miles on both roads. Work will be conducted simultaneously on both roads.

“There will be holes dug, so there will be no chance for people to get by,” Chamberlain said.

“These roads are 50 years old,” said Tribal Public Works Coordinator John Mercier, “and they’ve gone through 50 years of hard labor … truck traffic, recreational traffic. The pavement is cracked in some areas, potholed and we found areas of subgrade that are failing underneath the road. The roads are in need of reconstructive surgery and a facelift.”

Pacific Excavation will have six to eight employees working on the project, including two Tribal members hired through the Tribal Employment Rights Office.

A flagger will be stationed at the intersection of both roads to alert people that they cannot proceed north. Mercier said he is also renting a reader board to place at the intersection to alert people of the project’s status.

Mercier said the new work will begin where a 2012 project that repaired and repaved four miles of Agency Creek Road left off.

“As with any construction project, construction will disrupt the normal flow of traffic on the roads during construction, and we all must expect delays when traveling in the construction area,” Mercier said.

The roads experience anywhere from 10 to 20 vehicles a day to 100 to 150 vehicles a day in the summer, he added. “During the summer you see a lot of people going up there,” Mercier said.

“We are really excited about this project,” said Assistant General Manager Dawn Doar. “It’s going to help improve the roads and also provide unencumbered access once the roads are done so people don’t have to worry about traveling on them.”

Mercier thanked the Tribe’s Natural Resources Department, Engineering/Public Works/Facilities and Maintenance Department, General Manager’s Office, Tribal Attorney’s Office, Finance Department, TERO, GIS and Tribal Historic Preservation Office for their assistance on the project.

Tribal Council approved the contract for the project at its Aug. 26 meeting.

Mercier said the work is funded by the Tribe’s federal Tribal Transportation allocation.

Pacific Excavation has previously worked with the Tribe, winning the Ackerson Road Lift Station contract.

Chamberlain said road work is projected to last through the end of November, depending on weather.