A contract worth nearly $9 million has been awarded by federal officials for the rehabilitation of Stevens Canyon Road at Mount Rainier National Park, clearing the way for the project to begin this month.
The Federal Highway Administration and U.S. Park Service officials announced May 25 that a Tacoma company, Tucci and Sons Inc., received the contract for $8.9 million.
Work on the project will start in June and is scheduled to continue throughout the summer,. causing traffic delays for park visitors. The work is to be completed by Sept. 17, according to officials.
Stevens Canyon Road will be resurfaced and undergo other refurbishing of bridges, tunnels, culverts, guard walls, retaining walls, turnouts and the short Wonderland Trail section. The latter is adjacent to Reflection Lake.
The improvements are slated for approximately 10 miles of the 19-mile-long road.
Starting in June and continuing through Sept. 4, motorists should expect 20-minute delays during weekdays in the construction area. After Sept. 4 and until the road closes completely for the winter, the road will be closed to through traffic (automobiles and bicycles) from east of the intersection with Paradise Valley Road to the east end of the tunnel at Box Canyon, officials said.
During the closure, park visitors will be able to access Backbone Ridge, Box Canyon and nearby trailheads via the park’s east entrance near State Route 123. Officials said Wonderland Trail and day hikers will be allowed to hike through the construction zone in order to reach the trails.
Forty-five locations on the road need to be stabilized to halt displacement of the roadway, officials said. Two sites need roadway embankments and guard walls to be replaced.
Repairs of tunnel walls also are planned.
The overall project will extend into 2013, with a tentative ending in mid-September that year. No road closures are planned for next year, according to officials.
Improvements scheduled for next year include drainage, repair of historic rock retaining walls, and road resurfacing. All of that can be done while keeping the well-traveled road open to the public, officials said.
Stevens Canyon Road connects the east and west sides of the park. It intersects with the Nisqually-to-Paradise road on the west side about two miles south of Paradise.
During the road’s scheduled closure this fall, visitors should access Paradise via the Nisqually entrance on State Route 706, a park spokesman advised.
The spokesman noted that while the roadwork will be an inconvenience at times for the public, the end result will be improved road conditions for driving and more longevity for the roadway .
Updated information on the project’s status will be available from the park at 360-569-2166 and nps.gov/mora/parknews/newsreleases.