WALLA WALLA, Wash. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Mill Creek Project is continuing intermittent closures on the south levee trail Mondays through Fridays until Friday, Sept. 14, to remove temporary barriers and piping installed during in-stream concrete weir improvements. The Corps will also close a small portion of the east end of Rooks Park adjacent to the Mill Creek Diversion Dam forebay area for construction beginning Monday, Sept. 10, and planned to end by Friday, Sept. 14. However, both construction areas will be open on weekends.
"In Rooks Park, near the maintenance building, a new piezometer to monitor water table levels will be installed." Piezometer installation drilling work will be by Budinger & Associates. The Diversion Dam access road and possibly a small portion of the Mill Creek Recreation trail on the east side of Rooks Park will be closed next week during construction.
Also, the south levee trail will be closed Monday through Friday from the Mill Creek Project Office to the foot bridge across Mill Creek at Rooks Park. The contractor for the concrete weir improvement project, TML Construction of Hayden, Idaho, will be using heavy equipment on the gravel trail during this time frame. For safety reasons, visitors are asked to not enter the construction area when closure signs are posted.
Visitors may use the pedestrian bridges crossing Mill Creek to bypass the work zone -- Be aware that dogs are required to be leashed on the paved trail running along the north side of the creek. The horse trailer parking and turnaround area just east of the Mill Creek Project office remains closed for staging of contractor equipment. Visitors with horse trailers are encouraged to park at the Bennington Lake parking lot if they plan to ride horses on Mill Creek Dam and Bennington Lake lands during this period.
The Mill Creek low-flow channel is being modified to improve fish passage for Endangered Species Act (ESA)-listed fish species (steelhead and bull trout). The low-flow channel was built by removing a section of a concrete weir that runs perpendicular to the Mill Creek channel and replacing that section with a concrete notch. The notch will allow water and fish to pass more freely during the summer when the water is lower. The Corps notched three weirs this year as a test. Last year, Walla Walla County and Tri-State Steelheaders installed a number of notches in weirs on the county’s section of the Mill Creek channel, four of which can be seen at the Tausick Way bridge over Mill Creek.
For more information about this project or for general information about Mill Creek Dam and Bennington Lake, call the Mill Creek office 527-7160 or visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/millcreekdam.