Contact: Lane County Public Information Officer Anne Marie Levis, 541-915-4659
Lane County Public Works has received the Project of the Year Award from the Oregon Chapter of the American Public Works Association for work rebuilding a section of Sweet Creek Road.
“This was a difficult project that started out with a retaining wall replacement and quickly became a bridge building project as we learned more about the site conditions,” said county engineer Bill Morgan.
Despite numerous challenges, the project was on budget, completed eight months ahead of schedule, with no detectable impact to environmental concerns and no lost-time injuries of any construction workers.
The Sweet Creek Road project was initiated to replace a retaining wall that kept the road from falling into the Siuslaw River. The retaining wall, initially constructed in the early 1970’s, began to fail in January 2011, causing one lane to sink severely and restricting traffic to the other lane. This section of the road is sandwiched between a steep rock slope and the Siuslaw River. After construction began, it was discovered that initial surveys of bedrock depth had instead located large boulders and that the actual bedrock depth was significantly deeper than expected.
Sweet Creek Road is the only access in and out for 68 residents and is a major recreation corridor for accessing waterfalls and hunting and fishing locations. No weekend road closures were allowed and full road closures were only permitted at night and had to allow traffic to pass for five minutes every hour. Lane County coordinated with local first responders to have an ambulance staged above the project to preserve response times.
“This was a project where, despite the challenges, our general contractor West Coast Contractors and OBEC did everything they could to minimize costs and disruption. This is a great example of working together to develop better solutions to fix our roads,” said county engineer Bill Morgan. “We are pleased to share this award with our partners.”
The APWA award recognizes excellence, innovation and cooperation with regard to management and administration of public works projects through the alliance of the managing agency, consultant and contractor. Lane County and its partners on this project received the award in the transportation category for project of the year under $5 million.