The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Michele Smith
The Times 

Commissioners Approve Project Plans

Public hearings planned for Vernon Smith Bridge project, S. Touchet Road improvements


DAYTON—At their meeting on Feb. 3, the Columbia County Commissioners heard from Public Works Director Andrew Woods about holding public hearings for citizens impacted by plans to replace the Vernon Smith Bridge on Rose Gulch Road, and by work that is scheduled to begin in 2016 on South Touchet Road.

The commissioners approved an informational meeting to be held at the public works department at 415 North Guernsey Avenue in Dayton for anyone impacted by the Vernon Smith Bridge replacement project. The meeting will take place on Feb. 18, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., and is open to the public, they said.

Replacement of the Vernon Smith Bridge project includes improving the right of way initially, with bridge construction to begin in 2017, as stated in the county six-year transportation improvement program.

The commissioners also agreed to an informational meeting, open to the public, at the public works office on Feb. 25, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., for parties impacted by the work that is planned for South Touchet Road.

The South Touchet Road project calls for improvements to the right of way in 2016, with actual construction in 2017. Improvements to the intersection of Harting Grade Road and Robinette Mountain Road with the South Touchet Road are to be made, with widening of the existing two-lane road, improving the drainage, and full depth reclamation and paving.

Woods also presented the commissioners with five resolutions for their approval, which they gave.

Resolution #2016-04 concerns assisting the Town of Starbuck, Wash., with replacement of the roof of the Starbuck Town Hall. Woods will proceed with solicitation of bids, and awarding a contract for the project. The estimated cost is $15,000 and will be funded by the County Capital Improvement Program, according to Woods.

Resolution #2016-07 concerns funding for installation of approximately 1,750 feet of fencing and three gates around the former Seneca softball field and trailer pad site, along with fencing and gates for the sheriff’s impound yard. Funding for that will come from the County Capital Improvement Program and the Equipment Rental and Revolving Fund. The project is estimated at $37,500, according to Woods.

Resolution 2016-06 authorizes Woods to utilize county resources and/or solicit bids to award a contract for the demolition and disposal of the activity center, chapel, and gate house at the former Seneca labor camp property, in the first phase of building removal.

Some of the buildings have environmental concerns such as asbestos that necessitate the demolition of the buildings, rather than offer them for sale, or salvage, according to Woods.

The estimated cost is $75,000, and the funds will come from the County Capital Improvement Fund, he said.


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