Update: Monday, December 2nd
City officials predict a much-repaired section of Big Creek Road from just north of the Newport Municipal Swimming Pool to Big Creek Park will be re-opened for public use by December 20th. The $750,000 restoration project repaired large slides caused by heavy rains during the winter of 2011.
City Public Works Director Tim Gross said after consulting with Police Chief Mark Miranda and interim City Manager Ted Smith, the road will be opened to two way traffic. Gross says although it used to be just one-way, it was due to it being so narrow. But with the repairs recently made, it’s wide enough for two-way traffic.
Gross said city crews are cleaning out the ditches, opening up the storm drains and widening the narrow stretch of the roadway. At the most northern end, the city will be overlaying the existing paved portion to a width of 16 feet. Crews will also be installing reflective markers on the outside edge for the entire length of the road.
The road will be posted as a five ton route, meaning only passenger vehicles and moderate sized pickups will be allowed to use the road. Gross added that guardrails will be installed the entire length of the roadway sometime after the road is reopened.
As you can see from the first photo, the work crews fixing Big Creek Road basically rebuilt the roadway from just south of Frank Wade Park to a spot about a quarter mile to the north. Crews reinforced the upside hillside in one spot with substantial retaining walls and fill in downhill slide areas.
The road slumped out badly during a series of powerful storms that came ashore in the winter of 2011. For nearly three years the road has been blocked off to vehicular traffic which gave hikers, runners and dog walkers exclusive access to the road (which was nice while it lasted). The road is expected to open fairly soon. City Public Works Director Tim Gross says he was able to match up a disaster repair grant from FEMA with grant money from the state to cover the full cost of the repairs. It means that Big Creek Road was repaired at no expense to the city, a project that was estimated to cost $750,000.
Residents of the Big Creek area (off 32nd and Harney) have been anxious to get the road repaired ever since it slumped out. They were always a little nervous about losing one of their two exit routes in the event of a weather, fire or other emergency. With Big Creek Road restored, they’re back to having escape routes to the north and to the south.