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Snowden Road work set to begin this fall

Construction includes widening and guardrails

By this time next year, those tight turns on Snowden Road won't be quite so alarming.

That's because Klickitat County's Public Works Department plans to widen and resurface 2.65 miles of Snowden Road, and add guardrails where needed.

When completed, the majority of the new road will be 36 feet across, except for a short area where it will be 32 feet.

It is 22 feet or 24 feet currently.

According to Keith Grundei of the county's Public Works Department, the road will have six-foot paved shoulders on each side.

"People will be able to walk, bicycle, or get to their mailbox without fear of being run over," Grundei said.

The proposed schedule of the reconstruction work calls for clearing the wider right of way this fall; relocating utilities and fences from this fall through next spring; and completing the actual repaving/widening in the summer of 2008.

The work will cover the stretch of Snowden Road from where it begins at the Simmons Road intersection in White Salmon and go 2.65 miles north from that point. Where the reconstruction work is slated to end is roughly halfway between Wnuk Road and Bates Road.

County officials pledged that the work would not block access for any property owners along Snowden Road.

"All county and private road intersections will be rebuilt to match the new roadway surfaces, as well as all driveways," said Grundei.

Grundei added that the county plans to begin advertising soon, and hopes to get a contractor in place and get the work started within 6 weeks.

A federal transportation grant will pay about 86 percent of the as -yet undetermined project cost.

"It's to everyone's benefit to improve the road," said Louis Huszar, chair of the Snowden Community Council. "In some places, the road is quite dangerous. and now there will be a sufficiently wide path for bicycles there on the shoulder. Also, the road has been closed to logging trucks at times when the road gets too soft, and I think they are trying to mitigate that. There's always logging going on somewhere up Snowden, and log trucks have to find a way to get up and down."

Huszar pointed out that safety would be enhanced by the project.

"The Community Council has been pressing for guardrails, or at least fog lines and reflectors for some time," he said. "This has been in the plans for a couple years."

Huszar added that the construction is likely to create traffic headaches.

"I'm sure there are going to be some bottlenecks and delays next summer. Get ready for some delays between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m.," Huszar said.

County planners estimate the average traffic on that portion of Snowden Road to be about 3,000 vehicles per day.

"It's a pretty busy road for as narrow as it is," Grundei said.

The Klickitat County Planning Department has issued a "determination of non-significance" (DNS) for the project. Written comments and/or appeals related to the DNS will be accepted by the Planning Department until Sept. 28.


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