BLM starts Sunflower Creek culvert replacement on South Fork John Day Road

Culvert replacement will result in a temporary road closure July 18–22


Bureau of Land Management

BLM Office:

Prineville District Office

Media Contact:

Kaitlyn Webb

Prineville, Ore. — The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Prineville District is replacing the Sunflower Creek culvert on South Fork John Day Road approximately 20 miles south of Dayville, OR. Installation of the new culvert will provide safer public access, increase the culvert’s weight capacity, and benefit aquatic organisms.

Portions of South Fork John Day Road and Forest Service Road (FSR) 58 will be temporarily closed starting at 7 a.m. on July 18 and lasting through 12 a.m. on July 22. The closure will provide for public safety while a detour route is established. South Fork John Day Road will be closed approximately two miles north of its intersection with FSR 6370, also known as Indian Creek Road, up to its junction with FSR 24, also known as Deer Creek Road. FSR 58 will be closed at the BLM Prineville District boundary with the Ochoco National Forest. A detailed closure map is attached for reference.

Once the temporary detour route is complete, travelers will be able to bypass the project area while work continues. The detour road will be removed at the conclusion of the project, which the BLM anticipates will be September 30, 2022. In addition to the replacement of the culvert, the improvement project will also include the installation of erosion control measures and a dewatering site, the demolition and disposal of the existing culvert, and plant salvage and replanting.

The new culvert offers an increased weight capacity which will allow for larger vehicles with heavier loads to cross over it safely. The new culvert is also much larger and meets the standards to pass a 100-year-flood event. Additionally, the project will provide for improved aquatic-organism passage through the culvert for species like the Inland Columbia Basin Redband Trout, which are a Bureau Sensitive Species. The bottom of the old culvert has deteriorating cement baffles which make passage difficult at high and low water flows. The new culvert will follow the natural gradient of the valley and has a simulated stream bottom. Both features mimic a natural aquatic habitat and help to sustain passage at all water flows.

“Safe access to public lands and natural resources is critical to BLM’s mission of sustaining the health, diversity, and productivity of public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. This culvert replacement not only provides safer access to public lands, but it also improves habitat,” said Amanda Roberts, Field Manager for the Central Oregon Field Office.

The BLM originally built the South Fork John Day Road, which leads from Dayville to Izee, to facilitate the transportation of forest products. Now, the road provides a route for the transportation of livestock and offers recreational access to the John Day Wild and Scenic River. Funding for the project comes from the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA). The GAOA was signed into law in 2020, providing major investments to address deferred maintenance needs, increase recreational access to public lands, and conserve our lands and waters.

The public can expect heavy equipment, workers, and signage in the area as soon as today. The public is asked to drive with caution near the worksite and be alert when traveling nearby.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.