Trusted local news leader for Williams AZ and the Grand Canyon
Tue, Nov. 12

Several in-park<br>projects ongoing

A number of construction and remodeling projects ongoing in Grand Canyon National Park continue with several reporting progress.

Wood canopies at the entrances to the NPS maintenance buildings were recently completed.

Activities range from Xanterra Parks and Resorts’ warehouse move to a number of projects being done in the Desert View area. One of the most visible this summer will the road realignment on Desert View Drive.

The National Park Service’s Gil Gabaldon said a pre-construction meeting by the Federal Highways Administration on the road project was to occur last week.

Tom Pittenger of the park’s transit team said the Desert View road project will be a concern this summer as far as letting visitors know what’s going on. Pittenger said the park is working on a handout to be distributed at entrance stations. The next issue of The Guide will come out March 1 and will include an article.

The park will also explore other possibilities for letting the public know about the road project, which will involve traffic delays. Businesses will be informed of what visitors should be told, those meetings likely to occur after an overall picture of impact to visitors is determined.

Another visible project will occur right in Grand Canyon Village with the removal of several old oil tanks. Gabaldon said there are 40 tanks marked for removal, 32 of those underground.

There have been several obstacles, such as trees that have grown to impact the tanks, as well as historic structures being located nearby. Two of the tanks are at school housing.

"We have our work cut out on compliance," Gabaldon said. "Compliance is extensive because the old records were not well kept. We want to make sure we find the tanks and will not be missing any. There will be a lot of assessment."

Gabaldon reported on several other projects going on in the park:

o Xanterra warehouse — The new warehouse, located at 10 Albright St., was being stocked with goods with offices filling up. As of a few weeks ago, Bob Baker of Xanterra said the old warehouse was nearly empty, with some old refrigeration units remaining.

o Xanterra housing — New homes located at 1238 Bob Mahn and 1599 Barry Hance were finished and are occupied.

o NPS maintenance-warehouse facility — As of mid-February, interior electrical and mechancial ductwork was being done. Drywall, taping and texturing was completed and painting was nearing completion. Wood canopies at the entrances to the buildings were complete. Gabaldon said the complex was on schedule to be finished by the set completion date of April 30.

o Desert View apartments — Progress was made on both the eight-plex and four-plex structures. Framing was completed on the eight-plex with roofing nearing completion. Plumbing and electrical work was in progress. On the four-plex, walls were being framed with trusses to be installed.

o Desert View utilities — A new water tank went online along with the pumphouse. New communication equipment was to be installed for the NPS and Department of Public Safety.

o Desert View wastewater treatment plant — The plant’s sand filtration system was under construction. A new lift station was installed and operable. Early last week, workers had to shutdown the entire Desert View water system so work could be done.

o Xanterra’s Desert View apartments — Xanterra’s eight-plex was making progress with second floor walls framed. Trusses were expected to be in place soon.

o Headquarters remodeling — Demolition was completed with some framing and dry wall completed. Carpet was expected to be installed soon but Gabaldon said there was plenty more to be done before ranger operations’ temporary offices will be ready. The ranger ops building will be undergoing a renovation project.

o Pipe Creek Vista shuttle stop — The contractor began work to prepare for demolition of the asphalt, followed by the installation of a concrete braking pad. The NPS road crew will apply striping. The project was expected to be finished by the end of the month.

o Mather Campground rehab — Gabaldon said the Denver Service Center recently presented the pre-construction meeting for this project. Traffic problems are expected this summer as the Mather Campground entrance station road is repaired. There will also be some campsites upgraded for accessibility.

o NPS utility repair — The NPS maintenance crew closed the road north of Maswik Lodge to repair a water line.

Pittenger also added some reports on a few other projects:

o Emergency services — Work on the emergency services building, which is connected to Grand Canyon Walk-In Clinic, is expected to begin in May. Pittenger said there will be no impact on use of the clinic.

o Rim Trail — The Rim Trail between Bright Angel Lodge and Verkamp’s will be getting new asphalt. Depending on the weather, the project is planned for May.

o Backcountry offices — Beginning probably in July, backcountry’s offices will move temporarily to a trailer in the north part of the lot. During that time, the building will be undergoing a remodeling project. The shuttle bus stop will be eliminated during the work. There will be the shuttle bus stop at nearby Maswik Lodge.

o Ranger operations — As indicated above, rangers will be moving temporarily to headquarters while the historic ranger ops building is rehabilitated. Work will begin this summer and Pittenger said there will be minimal impact to visitors. There could be some impact to those who use Center Road.

o Yavapai Observation Station — The Yavapai remodeling project will begin after Labor Day and be closed for nine months. Pittenger said work should be completed in that time with the Yavapai station to reopen in May 2004. The Rim Trail will be closed by the observation station but there will still be access to the trail that runs by the restrooms.

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