The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Commissioners OK Wirkkala Road work, Grays River gauge


Wahkiakum County commissioners authorized emergency repairs and a weight restriction load limit for Wirkkala Road north of Deep River when they met Tuesday.

Last week, area resident Nick Nikkila reported the culvert was failing and had only a very small opening for drainage.

This week, County Engineer Paul Lacy said the culvert had almost collapsed and recommended the county impose a 10,000 lb. weight restriction on the road. The road crew has already placed steel plates over the 4-foot diameter culvert for basic vehicle safety, he said.

Estimated cost of the repair is $84,188, Lacy said, adding that he intends to seek funding from other sources to help finance the project. The County Road Budget has allotted $151,000 for situations like this, he told the board of commissioners.

The road leads to two residences and is used by log trucks; however, the weight restriction will preclude truck passage.

"I would like to make the repair before the heavy rains in the fall," Lacy said.

In other business, commissioners extended an agreement with the Washington Department of Ecology for relocation and operation of a stream gauge station on the Grays River near the Covered Bridge.

The agreement will cost the county $32,000 for the five-year term.

The gauge tells river height and can be used to predict flood levels. A gauge that would also monitor stream flow would have cost $10,000 per year, said Public Works Director Chuck Beyer.

Beyer announced that the county will receive two air quality monitors from the Southwest Washington Clean Air Agency. One will be installed at Johnson Park, Rosburg, and the other at Wahkiakum High School, Cathlamet. They should be up by the end of the summer.

Cape Horn residents queried the board about US Army Corps of Engineers plans to deposit dredge spoils on their eroding waterfront. They said they had seen the pipeline dredge Oregon head downstream to set up below Skamokawa.

Beyer and Commissioner Dan Cothren replied that the Corps hasn't announced when the dredge would come to the Cape.

"They've been pretty secretive," Cothren said. "They're setting up near Brookfield. I think it's a fall thing for us."

Beyer agreed.

"I think they have a schedule," he said. "I think we're set for fall, September/October."


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