Work began this week on a project to replace a failing culvert with a bridge on Forest Service Road 5200, the Blue Mountains Scenic Byway, 10 miles north of Granite. The result will be a safer, more reliable road for forest travelers and improved passage for native fish, according to the Forest Service.
The current culvert carries Trail Creek, a tributary of the North Fork John Day River, underneath the highway, and is at the end of its service life. By constructing a concrete bridge to replace the culvert, the road will be kept in operating condition, and opening up a more natural stream channel will make the passage easier for native fish found within the watershed.
A 500-foot bypass road is currently being built to allow the culvert to be removed while keeping one lane of the road open through the winter; travelers should use caution in the area, be alert for construction workers, and prepare for possible delays. The project is expected to continue through mid-November.