The Walla Walla County Public Works Department proposed to reconstruct a portion of Taumarson Road in Walla Walla County. The area of potential effect is a 1.61-mile stretch of Taumarson Road between milepost 0.10 and 1.72. The existing roadway is too narrow (20 feet wide) and without shoulders. The roadway will be widened to 37 feet with curb and gutter along both sides and catch basins. A multi-use path will be constructed along one side. A bicycle lane will also be included along both sides of the road. Excavation for the roadway will be 1.33 feet below existing grade. All ground disturbing activities will be done within the 60-foot right-of-way (ROW).
The project is funded through the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) Highways and Local Programs Division is assisting the County and acting on behalf of the FHWA in processing federal environmental compliance documentation. As this is a federally funded project, the potential impacts to historic properties must be considered prior to implementation, as per Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). To that end, the County retained Plateau Archaeological Investigations (Plateau) to conduct the cultural resource survey.
Background research revealed 30 previously recorded cultural resources within 1.0 mi (1.6 km) of the Project Area, none of which are located within the Project Area. The Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservatoin’s predictive model places the Project Area within areas of high risk for encountering cultural resources.
The majority of widening efforts will encompass the current gravel shoulders; however, retaining walls will be constructed outside of existing shoulders. Underground utilities (i.e., water, sewer, natural gas, and telecommunications) are marked and within and directly adjacent to the Project Area. Other disturbances in the Project Area include areas of cut and fill, as well as road construction and landscaping. No Native American or historic-era cultural materials or features were recorded as a result of the pedestrian survey and subsurface investigations for the Taumarson Road Reconstruction Project. No further archaeological investigations were recommended prior to or during execution of the proposed undertaking.
Location: Walla Walla County, Washington