Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

By Garth Meyer
Gazette Columnist 

Right-of-way quest takes county reps to Puget Sound hospital


June 6, 2019

Last agreements are coming in on the delayed Almota Four road work, including one which county agents obtained from a hospital patient in Puget Sound.

On Tuesday, two county representatives, one of which is a notary, drove west, where an Almota Four landowner is in the hospital. The woman, who had expected to be released and back to the Palouse by this time, requested she sign the papers from where she was.

In turn, county right-of-way agent Dan Hall and Brandon Johnson, administrative supervisor/notary, made the drive.

“We believe we’ll have all the signatures some time Wednesday – or by the end of the week,” said Mark Storey, Public Works director, referring to logistics on the last two landowners who have agreed to sign.

If and when the county gets all of the signatures, the next step is for Public Works to certify the right-of-way, mail checks to landowners and send information to the Washington State Department of Transportation for them to certify the right-of-way as well.

Property owners’ agreements are needed to use some private ground that will slope up to the newly widened road.

With no further hitches, the full project could go to bid in August, with work to start after wheat harvest.

“As I’ve said, I’m cautiously optimistic,” said Storey. “At least some fall work on the project, that is our goal.”

The total project consists of an estimated 200 working days.

“We won’t break ground ‘til early September,” said Dean Cornelison, assistant county engineer.

“A bunch of the work will be pushed into next year,” Storey said.

The Almota Four project spans 3.5 miles between Union Flat Creek and State Route 194 by Onecho Bible Church, to widen the road from 28 to 34 feet.

Almota Four is part of a four-phase, 12-mile reconstruction begun in 2009.

County commissioners approved Monday an estimated $8,000 in tree removal on sections of the Almota Four route. The work was approved in order to get started so the county does not lose its Washington State County Road Administration Board funding before the June 30 deadline to start the project.

The tree removal was part of the plans all along. The estimated two to three days of work was expected to start by the end of the week.

“Phase one of Phase Four of Almota,” said Storey. “Not to confuse you, but we haven’t done Phase Three yet.”

He explained to commissioners that this “phase one” of Phase Four is just an interim action until they have the right-of-way agreements secure, to then finalize the full project.


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