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Wed, Nov. 13

Grand Canyon continues<br>to see its share of projects

Construction crews recently began work on a east new entrance station into Grand Canyon National Park. The project has forced the National Park Service to make some changes, primarily with traffic, in the Desert View area.

“We are going to have to have something in place down here by mid-October,” said Mark Johnston, who works on the park’s project management team. “If these booths are not ready for use, then we are going to put some temporary booths down here.”

Currently, a detour is in place for vehicles traveling through the area. Johnston said during the Sept. 11 community meeting that a passenger car parking lot was finished while another parking area for recreational vehicles and buses was to be done soon.

Deliveries to Delaware North’s Desert View store and Xanterra’s trading post are unaffected by the work, Johnston said.

Both permanent and temporary signs have been installed, directing visitors to the correct areas. Some additional signage will be going up at Delaware North’s request.

Tour buses are being allowed to use a shuttle bus turnaround area to load and unload passengers. Johnston said that has opened, but concessioners are working out details on how to use it.

In other work in the area, paving on sections of Desert View Drive have been ongoing.

“We expect all the highway work to be completed by the end of this construction season,” Johnston said.

An overlay project on South Entrance Road could also occur this season, weather permitting. But Johnston indicated that will probably happen next season.

In other park project news:

• Johnston said the Park Service is completing two Desert View housing projects, asking for final inspections on those two buildings this month. Xanterra’s finished its new complex with final inspection already performed.

• Xanterra’s Bob Baker said painters have finished putting a new coat of paint on the El Tovar Hotel. Several other Xanterra projects have been ongoing, however, Baker said planners are beginning to get organized for next year’s list of improvements.

• Sara White, compliance officer for the park, said there are no pressing issues coming up. However, she did report there are a staggering 700 projects ongoing in the park. “We’re working to cluster those projects together to help expedite the compliance,” she said.

• Grand Canyon School superintendent Sheila Breen reported that a kitchen expansion project should be completed in early October. Also, a nurse’s station expansion is being completed.

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