Work nearly completed on La Sal Loop Road
by Steve Kadel
staff writer
Dec 13, 2012 | 2391 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The months-long repair of La Sal Mountain Loop Road will be finished within a few days, according to a U.S. Forest Service spokesman.

Jack Nowak of the agency’s Monticello office said Monday that installation of some guardrails and restroom facilities in a parking area near Mill Creek is all that remains to be done.

Reconstruction of 4.7 miles on the road began last summer and caused delays for motorists in some areas. Travelers had to use the Sand Flats Road rather than La Sal Loop Road to reach some recreation areas.

The entire loop road should be open this winter, said Seth Wallace, U.S. Forest Service engineer for the Manti-La Sal National Forest office in Price.

The work included resurfacing the asphalt road, stabilizing slopes along the roadway, repairing and replacing culverts, construction of fill-slope retaining walls, and construction of a small parking area near the Mill Creek Bridge.

Total cost of the project was $6 million, including about $1 million for engineering, according to the Federal Highway Administration.

Project manager Chris Longley of the FHA, which did all the design work, said funding covered three of four sections on the road that needed repair. The fourth section – paving rehabilitation, widening, and drainage improvements from Ken’s Lake Road to Pack Creek Road – was not done due to lack of money.

Longley said it’s not known whether funding for that project, from milepost 2.0 to 5.3, will be available in 2013.

Improvements that were made include:

• Mill Creek from milepost 12.6 to 13.3, construction of a parking lot for use by climbers and renovation of the road caused by runoff.

• Miner’s Basin from milepost 21.1 to 23.1, erosion and severe damage to the pavement resulting from the 2008 Porcupine Ranch fire.

• Gateway Road intersection from milepost 25.8 to 27.8, improvement of badly worn pavement.

The loop route begins at the junction with U.S. 191 six miles south of Moab and proceeds east and north 36.4 miles to the junction with state Route 128 in Castle Valley. The road is primarily on federal land within the Manti-La Sal National Forest in Grand and San Juan counties.

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