Mill Creek Road Improvements Project

The Walla Walla County Public Works Department proposed to reconstruct a portion of Mill Creek Road.  Approximately 3,100 feet of Mill Creek Road will be realigned to reduce a curve in the road, and Five Mile Road will incorporate approximately 1,100 feet of Mile Creek Road.  The proposed undertaking includes widening the shoulders, improving slope, and replacing culverts.  The majority of ground disturbing activities will involve fill and minor excavation for ditches.

Pre-field research revealed four previously recorded archaeological resources within 1.0 mi (1.6 km) of the Project Area, none are located directly within the Project Area.  The Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation’s predictive model places the Project Area in a very high risk for encountering cultural resources.

The fieldwork included inspection techniques to identify both surface and subsurface archaeological resources.  No pre-contact or historic-era cultural material or features were observed during the pedestrian survey of the Project Area.  The majority of the proposed undertaking is limited to an existing modern transportation infrastructure environment.  The 1861 cadastral map shows a road, labeled “Road from Walla Walla to the Mountains,” generally following the present-day Mill Creek Road alignment, albeit to the north.  By 1909, Mill Creek Road is depicted in its present-day alignment.  This portion of Mill Creek Road passes through a rural landscaped marked by agricultural fields and dotted with residential properties.  Underground utilities and road construction/maintenance have disturbed the portion of the Project Area that will be subject to widening.  The realignment portion passes through an agricultural field, barren at the time of survey.

The majority of ground disturbing activities will involve fill and minor excavation for ditches.  Shovel probes were excavated along the realignment where the proposed undertaking will present the most ground disturbance.  Given the amount of disturbance along the sections that will be widened, no shovel probes were excavated.  Plateau excavated 36 shovel probes. One shovel probe contained a nail, recovered from the plowzone.  Plateau recommends the proposed undertaking will result in No Historic Properties Affected, and no further archaeological investigations are recommended prior to or during execution of the Mill Creek Road Improvements Project.

Location:  Walla Walla County, Washington

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