Major work in offing on Mill Creek Road

A bridge and the intersection with Five Mile Road will be the focus for $8.7 million in federally funded improvements.

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WALLA WALLA -- An intersection and bridge on Mill Creek Road are en route to some major improvements.

The Western Federal Lands Highway Division has obtained $8.7 million to realign the road's intersection with Five Mile Road and replace the bridge crossing Mill Creek near the community of Kooskooskie. The project "will also address major drainage issues above the bridge," said Walla Walla County Public Works Director Randy Glaeser.

Glaeser delivered the news during his regular report to county commissioners Monday. "It's one of the biggest single transportation grants recently aside from Myra Road," he told commissioners.

The county's role in the project will be to obtain the rights of way needed, Glaeser said. The federal highway division will be doing the design work and awarding the contract for construction. Other project participants are the Washington state Department of Transportation and the state County Road Administration Board.

The target date for construction is 2013, but that could be pushed back as the preliminary work proceeds, said Aaron Grimm, a project engineer with the county Public Works Department.

The federal government is heading the project because Mill Creek Road "is the only federal forest highway in the county," providing access to the Umatilla National Forest, Glaeser said.

Andy Porter can be reached at andyporter@wwub.com or 526-8318. Check out his blog at blogs.ublabs.org/randomthoughts.

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