WALLA WALLA, Wash. – Warmer weather conditions may allow contractors to resume levee-maintenance activities next week on the south side of the federally managed section of the Mill Creek Levee System, requiring intermittent closures of the gravel trails, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials announced today.
Contractors will likely be onsite this weekend to stage equipment and place safety barriers. Construction fencing will be placed to alert visitors to the temporary closures and encourage public safety. Once ground-moving activity begins, the contractor will be working seven days a week during daylight hours. Workers will be accessing the levee with construction equipment and heavy vehicles to remove the tree roots and re-compact levee material. Foot bridges across Mill Creek will be intermittently closed as work progresses along the levee.
For visitor safety, intermittent closures of parts of Kingfisher and Whitetail trails may be required during the contract performance period. A map of visitor trails which will require intermittent and/or temporary closures to accommodate levee work activities is available on the Corps’ website at www.nww.usace.army.mil/Missions/Projects/MillCreekLeveeMaintenance.aspx.
Phase-2 work began Dec. 1, then was suspended Dec. 12 because extreme winter weather conditions affected ground conditions for root removal and levee material re-compacting. The Walla Walla District will continue to announce work progress and temporary impacts to visitor access. Visitors are also encouraged to look for trail-closure updates on information kiosks located at major trailheads and on the Mill Creek Project’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/millcreekdam.
This maintenance is necessary to meet National Levee Safety Program requirements in accordance with Corps headquarters regulations and policies. Phase-1 work began on Oct. 8, 2015, and was completed on Dec. 31, 2015. Problematic vegetation was removed from the surface of the levee slopes and 15-feet landward from the levee’s design toe. Life safety is paramount for the Corps’ operations. Non-compliant vegetation on levees blocks visibility for inspections, access for maintenance, hinders flood-fighting operations, and adds uncertainty to structural performance and reliability, which increases risk to the public. The inability to inspect, maintain and flood fight typically delays emergency response and contributes to the risk of levee failure.
Release no. 17-015