A large American flag is flying from a crane in the J.S. “Burt” Eggleson Farms pasture at Eggleson Corner.
It marks the location of the Oregon Department of Transportation crew that is replacing the rip rap for the footings of the 24-foot Prairie Creek concrete culvert that crosses under Hwy. 82.
The project is considered critical, according to ODOT Bridge Maintenance Coordinator Jesse Collins.
“If we lose the footings, we lose the roadway,” he said.
Bridge and culvert repairs are special projects of the Major Bridge Maintenance Program and are selected according to need.
The project has been in the making for nearly two years.
“It takes up to two years to get the permits to work in the water,” said Collins.
A large flock of swallows, concerned about their mud nests in the roof of the Prairie Creek culvert, swooped overhead as ODOT workers made the construction area safe for fish. The nests of the swallows will not be disturbed during the construction.
As for fish, no hardhats for fish were issued. However, ODOT Environmental Program Coordinator Paul Kennington and his crew fenced off the section of the creek that would be the work site using netting. Then, Kennington walked the fenced area giving the fish a mild shock that rendered them temporarily immobile so they could be quickly scooped up with fishing nets purchased at Sports Corral.
The captured fish were transported above and below the netted area and work began on installing a five-foot diameter steel culvert that will divert both the water in the creek and the fish while the construction work progresses. The project will take approximately three weeks.