County completes most of dam road improvements

Sean C. Morgan

Linn County has completed substantial portions of its Foster Dam Access Road project, paving the gravel parking lot at the western shore of the lake, expanding the intersection with Poplar Street and widening a portion of the road between Poplar and 60th Avenue.

County Engineer Chuck Knoll said the contract requires completion by May 15.

“We’ve got everything done except on the main road,” Knoll said. “We’re going to grind that down, and we’re going to do a nice overlay, then stripe it.”

Curbs are still to come on the parking lot as well, Knoll said.

Progress has been hampered a little by recent weather, Knoll said. Between the late snowstorm and rainy weather, there have been just a few sunny days, and the contractor is waiting on good weather to finish the project.

“North Santiam Paving’s been doing a great job,” Knoll said. “We’ll get a better project out of it.”

The $826,000 project is funded by a $1.3 million grant from the Federal Lands Access Program administered by Western Federal Lands of the Federal Highway Administration. The grant also covered the cost of engineering and design.

The Foster Dam Access Road project stretches from its connection to 60th Avenue across Foster Dam to North River Drive. That route is used as a detour by truck traffic that cannot fit under the railroad trestle on Highway 20.

The project will improve the pedestrian crossing, with a signal, from the parking lot there to the shore of Foster Lake. A pedestrian path will stretch from Poplar Street south of Foster Dam Access Road to connect to Foster Lake Trail at 60th Avenue.

“Within 10 years, I can see a bike way, a multi-use path, going all the way from Foster Dam Access Road to Shea Point to Calkins (Park),” Knoll said.

Guardrails on the road since the 1960s are being upgraded to modern standards.

The project also includes paving the shoulder on Poplar Street between Foster Dam Access Road and Crane Access Road, which leads down to Wiley Creek Park and The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers offices and Foster powerhouse. The shoulder will be usable by pedestrians and bicyclists.

The condition of the pavement was rated 55 based on deterioration that include cracks and base failure, according to the grant application, Knoll said after the project was awarded to North Santiam Paving, and if preventative maintenance is not provided, rapid deterioration of the road will continuing, resulting having to rebuild it.

Linn County has been providing maintenance to Foster Dam Road and the Foster Dam Road Parking Lot since September 1972 under a Memorandum of Agreement with the Corps.