Work under way to improve Foster Dam Road, parking

Scott Swanson

Work is wrapping up this week on a portion of nearly $1 million in improvements to Foster Dam Road and the parking lot serving the west end of Foster Lake.

The $826,158.80 project is being constructed by North Santiam Paving Company of Stayton.

Funding comes from a $1,320,000 Federal Lands Access Program grant administered by the Federal Highway Administration.

County Engineer Chuck Knoll said the project will make a variety of improvements to the area, including:

– Widening of Foster Dam Road from 60th Avenue to the intersection with Poplar Street as well as a short segment of Poplar Street, which will include a paved shoulder “so it will be wider for pedestrians and bicyclists,” Knoll said. He said the wider paved surface will also provide a better road geometry for trucks that use the road as a detour around the railroad bridge on Highway 20, which is too low for some trucks to pass beneath.

“There are dents in the guard rail because it’s so tight there,” he said of the corner at Poplar.

– Paving of the entire surface of Foster Dam Road north to North River Drive.

– Replacement of guardrail and posts.

– Improvements and paving of the crane access road that runs below the parking lot to Andrew Wiley Park.

– Installation of a paved asphalt surface on the parking area, with concrete walkways and sidewalks.

– A signalized crossing for those walking from the parking area and across Foster Dam Road to the park area along Foster Lake will also be provided.

Knoll said another improvement will be creation of a stormwater collection system between Foster Dam Road and the crane access road.

“Once it’s all done, we’re going to have these bioswales where stormwater will come off the parking lot and road into a compost mixture. It will be a grassy area. It will look good.”

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. Linn County has also been working with the City of Sweet Home to ensure the needs of the City are met since Foster Dam Road connects to two city streets, Poplar Street and 60th Ave-nue, which intersects with Highway 20.

In its application, the county noted that Foster Lake attracts a large number of visitors to the Sweet Home area and improvements from the Foster Dam Road project “will only help improve this attraction as well as the economic benefit associated with the improvements.”

Knoll said an initial layer of asphalt on the parking lot, and work on the guardrails should be complete by Dec. 20 and then the project will be closed down till spring.

“When they come by in late March or April, they’re going to put the final pavement on the roads and parking lot,” he said. “Right now we have done some paving – pre-level for paving. We will put the final 2-inch layer on when the weather gets warmer. It’s rough to get a smooth surface in this colder weather.”