Access changes with removal, addition of Canyon City bridges

Mark Juve runs a trackhoe on Highway 395 at the former site of the South Humbolt Bridge Aug. 28. Employees of Iron Wolf, a John Day corporation, removed the antiquated bridge and rehabilitated the banks of Canyon Creek in south Canyon City. This project created a cul de sac for the dozen or so residences on South Humbolt Street but allowed construction of a new bridge directly accessing heavily used Adam Road. The Eagle/DAVID CARKHUFF

CANYON CITY - Motorists who use Bridge Street, South Humbolt Street and Adam Road in south Canyon City need to form new driving habits. A Grant County contractor removed one bridge and built another farther north, creating new traffic patterns on these three streets south of the Grant County Courthouse.

South Humbolt Street became a cul de sac following the removal last week of the South Humbolt Bridge. This street just south of the Grant County Road Department is designated as a "Dead End" street.

Iron Wolf, the John Day corporation hired by the county to remove the South Humbolt Bridge, also won the contract to build a new bridge at the terminus of Adam Road. This bridge was opened for vehicular use on Aug. 25.

State transportation officials welcomed an improved access to heavily used Adam Road, one of the primary access routes to the West Bench area. However, state traffic managers would not permit the antiquated South Humbolt Bridge to remain and create an additional, unsafe access to the highway. The result is a new traffic pattern.

Motorists who drive down Adam Road to the highway no longer must dogleg to the north and cross Canyon Creek via the Bridge Street Bridge. Now they are given the right-of-way to the new bridge. A stop sign that once forced Adam Road traffic to halt at South Humbolt will be removed. Motorists driving on South Humbolt will be required stop at Adam Road, however. Traffic flow on South Humbolt has been restricted by a new one-way designation between the Kingdom Hall of the Jehovah's Witness church and Adam Road. Motorists on Adam Road are not allowed to drive north to the Bridge Street Bridge. South Humbolt Street now is a south-only arterial from the courthouse to Adam Road.

The Izee Street Bridge leading to the Grant County Courthouse is unaffected by these changes. The people most affected are residents of the new cul de sac on South Humbolt.

The Oregon Department of Transportation had deemed their southernmost bridge across Canyon Creek unsuitable for use. The defunct bridge was removed on Aug. 27, after ideas to retrofit it as a pedestrian-only bridge were scrapped. Engineer Doug Ferguson of Mt. Vernon said the bridge was unsalvagable based on ODOT's inspection report.

South Humbolt residents, as well as Canyon City fire chief Matt Turner, urged the need for a turn-around site for fire trucks and other emergency vehicles in their cul de sac. This problem is being rectified. The city owns a small piece of a triangle of property north of the former bridge site, reported Canyon City city recorder/manager Tammy Bremner. She said the city will establish this property's boundaries and designate the pull-out as a restricted area for emergency-vehicle use.

Residents who want a footbridge to cross Canyon Creek will need to wait until mid-October. That's when the city plans to install a new footbridge across from the Golden Dragon restaurant north of Izee Street, Bremner said. The plan is to replace a footbridge that was found unsafe for public use and removed two years ago. The new pedestrian bridge was purchased with a $25,000 ODOT grant, Bremner said.

Another minor change is installation of a wall along the grade on Adam Road, where an unstable slope exists. This and associated work, such as drainage pipe, created a 10 percent addition to the contract, raising the project cost to $330,000, Ferguson said. The project still is expected to come in under his estimate of $380,000, he said.

The new Adam Road Bridge still awaited finish work late last week, and Ferguson was reluctant to give a final date of completion for any of the bridge projects.

"Until the job's done, I'm not sure where we'll end up," he said.

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