Blackfoot Valley Dispatch - The Blackfoot Valley's News Source Since 1980

By Roger Dey
Blackfoot Valley Dispatch 

County planning to move ahead with repair of North Lincoln Gulch Rd. washout


August 29, 2018

Roger Dey

A pair of 36-inch culverts washed out by floodwaters in May lie near several fallen trees on the floor of the Glory Hole below the remains of North Lincoln Gulch Road. The washed out section of road has forced residents of the area above the washout to make a detour through the Lincoln Springs subdivision for the past three months.

Lewis and Clark County Public Works is making plans to repair the large washout on North Lincoln Gulch Road, without the assistance of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Public Works Director Eric Griffin said last month the project was a priority for this year and expected to work with FEMA on the repair, but concerns about the federal agency's level involvement prompted his department take a new approach.

"We don't quite know if FEMAs gonna come in or not come in or do this or do that, so we weighed the cost associated with our 25 percent match, versus the rules and regulations associated with FEMA ... versus just doing it.," he said at the Upper Blackfoot Valley Community Council last week.

Another incentive that prompted the decision was an opportunity to buy a pair of 72-inch culverts.

"Sometimes people buy these big, big pipes they don't have a use for and they become available very reasonable," Griffin said. "We have found two very, very large pipes and we had quite a discussion among staff with our bridge engineer from Great West, and we're gonna go that route."

Only one of the culverts is destined for Lincoln Gulch. The other will be used on a similar road issue on Bedrock Creek. The single six-foot culvert will replace the two three-foot pipes washed out by the flooding in May.

UBVCC Vice Chair and Lincoln Fire Chief Zach Muse, who watched the water wash out the road over several days, suggested they make sure to clear away debris below the road, since he saw how water would hit the debris and deflect back under the culverts, washing away the material under and around them.

The decision to forge ahead without FEMA funding means the possibility of installing articulated concert blocks, which are tied together with cable to re-enforce the road bed, will fall by the wayside.

Roger Dey

A 36-inch culverts washed out by floodwaters in May lie on the floor of the Glory Hole below the remains of North Lincoln Gulch Road.

"It was ungodly expensive, and we don't know if FEMA and all that's gonna come through and work out," Griffin said.

According to information provided by Audra Zacherl, Lewis and Clark Co Public Works assistant director, the plan is to complete the survey, finalize the plans and apply for the required stream permits from the Army Corps of Engineers by the end of September. Approval of those permits could take up to 60 days, meaning construction probably won't begin until November.

Griffin admitted he can't assure anyone that the new, larger culvert and the road repair will last forever, but a single larger culvert is less likely to collect debris and is considered more efficient, hydrologically, than the two smaller pipes it will replace.

"We all feel real comfortable with that, so that's the direction we're headed," Griffin said.


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