Construction crews work on creating beds for rail tracks at the Treasure Valley Reload Center north of Nyssa on Tuesday, April 12. (LES ZAITZ/The Enterprise)
NYSSA – A rural roadway north of Nyssa is taking a pounding from construction truck traffic, requiring a small taxpayer-supported road district to continually make repairs.
Contractors are hauling tons of rock to the site of the Treasure Valley Reload Center, using Arcadia Boulevard to reach their destination.
“It hasn’t held up to this extra trucking,” said Wes Allison, supervisor of Nyssa Road District No. 2.
Allison said the trucks have been coming off of U.S. Highway 26 onto Gem Avenue. Some continue directly to the job site while others turn south onto Arcadia before turning onto Gamble Road, at the south side of the reload center project.
On Arcadia, “We had to dig out soft spots, put in base rock and then put a cold pack on it,” Allison said. “Our intention is to just use patches to get us through the project.”
He said his crews have also been tending to repairs on Gem while the contractors have handled road repairs on Gamble.
Allison said he hasn’t added up the costs for labor, equipment and supplies. He said more substantial repairs will be needed later.
The road district is a public entity with a budget of about $1 million to maintain 180 miles of road. Allison said 75% of the funding comes from taxpayers within the rural district.
“We’re hoping to get some help repairing the road,” he said.
The Malheur County Development Corp., the public company managing the reload center project, originally had budgeted $308,000 for road improvements outside the industrial park.
That particular item hasn’t been listed in subsequent budgets, and project officials said last week the rail project is as much as $9.8 million short to finish.
Greg Smith, Malheur County economic development director, is the project manager. He has a practice of not responding to telephone messages or written questions from the Enterprise.
Allison said he’s been in discussions with Malheur County officials about the damage.
Once the rail center is operating, several thousand trucks a year are forecast to travel on those rural roads to deliver onions for loading onto rail cars. Money to improve the state highway to accommodate that traffic was taken out of plans in 2018.
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