Tribal Government & News

Grand Ronde Road repaving project concludes early

08.14.2023 Dean Rhodes Transporation
The Grand Ronde Road repaving project was completed weeks ahead of schedule. The road’s striping was completed on Sunday and Monday, Aug. 13-14. (Photo by Michelle Alaimo/Smoke Signals)


By Dean Rhodes

Publications coordinator

Community cooperation and a well-organized contractor are being cited as reasons why the repaving of Grand Ronde Road concluded weeks earlier than anticipated.

Grand Ronde Tribal Public Works Coordinator John Mercier said the original goal was for the project to be completed before the last week in August.

However, Mercier sent out an e-mail on Friday, Aug. 4, alerting Tribal employees that they could take any route to work starting on Monday, Aug. 7.

“Delays should be minimal,” he added.

During the height of repaving work in July, delays could be long and many Tribal employees used Hebo Road to avoid the work.

“Support from the community by adjusting and taking detours helped keep the trucks going,” Mercier said. “In addition, the contractor brought in the correct equipment to take out the old road material and bring in the new material.”

Polk County Public Works Director Todd Whitaker said that the new roadway should have a life span of 20 years with required maintenance, such as a chip seal, occurring in eight to 10 years.

“It went very smoothly,” Whitaker said. “I credit having a well-organized contractor.”

A&E Excavating of Salem was the contractor on the $2.2 million protect.

The last bit of work – striping – was completed on Sunday and Monday, Aug. 13-14.

The project started on June 5, 10 days ahead of schedule.

Whitaker said the project was a “full depth” reconstruction that cleared away the entire old roadway surface and laid down six inches of new asphalt, two more inches than was laid down during the last repaving that occurred in 2009-10.

The Grand Ronde Tribe is paying for about 50 percent of the project with Yamhill County paying for about 7 percent and Polk County funding the other 43 percent. The northern end of Grand Ronde Road is in Yamhill County.

On April 19, Tribal Council approved a memorandum of understanding between Polk County and the Tribe to fund the engineering design and an intergovernmental agreement authorizing spending up to $1.5 million for the Tribe’s portion of the project.