POMEROY, Wash. – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers repairs to a bridge pier on Almota Ferry Road in Garfield County near Lower Granite Dam have been delayed to tonight, March 27. As a result, the bridge and short section of Almota Ferry Road is planned to be closed tonight beginning at 6 p.m. and ending about 10 p.m., to allow the repair. The bridge is located on Almota Ferry Road leading to the south-shore entrance across Lower Granite Dam, and provides public access to dam crossings, the Offield Landing campground and boat launch area, and lower Wawawai Grade Road.
The delay is due to safety considerations. Equipment was too large and heavy to be safely positioned to drill. The Corps’ contractor mobilized a smaller piece of equipment to accomplish the initial work.
The bridge and Almota Ferry Road access to the Offield Landing area needs to be closed during initial bridge pier repairs involving rock drilling, installation of underpinning and metal anchor rods at the base of the pier, and concrete grouting. Corps officials caution that there may be additional unanticipated construction delays,
The Corps’ year-round campground and boat launch at Offield Landing would not be accessible via road while the bridge is closed for repairs. Normal Lower Granite Dam crossings from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily are not expected to be affected.
Additional repairs in the vicinity of the bridge are planned to continue after the bridge re-opens, but are not expected to require road closure. Motorists should remain alert to bridge-area repairs and ongoing construction activities at the nearby Juvenile Fish Facility, which involves heavy equipment and construction vehicles along the south-shore approach to the dam.
During bridge closure and bridge pier repairs, access to Corps’ south-shore recreation areas and Lower Granite Visitor Center west of the dam on Almota Ferry Road will remain open, but only from the south riverbank. The Visitor Center is open daily 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. During bridge closure, visitors will also be able to access the north shore and Boyer Park area in Whitman County via State Highway 194 and Lower Granite Road.
The bridge pier was compromised on Feb. 5 during adjacent construction at the dam’s Juvenile Fish Facility. For safety, the Corps closed road and dam crossings from Feb. 6 until Feb. 11, when a temporary pier buttress was constructed that allowed traffic on the bridge while the Corps developed a long-term solution.
For information about Corps recreation areas in the nearby area, contact the Lower Granite Natural Resources Management Office, 509-751-0240, or the Lower Granite Visitor Center, 509-843-1493, ext. 262.