At the time of the event, it was determined that the Western Federal Lands Highway Division (WFLHD) of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) would be the lead agency in charge of repairing the road. The washouts occurred along particularly hazardous sections of road that include steep drop-offs directly down to the creek. Due to the extent of the damage, concerns over public safety, cultural resources, and the proximity of the Wild and Scenic River Eagle Creek, the NEPA analysis and design was complex and the repairs took additional time to complete.
On April 30, 2012, WFLHD awarded a contract to JAL Construction, Inc. out of Bend, Oregon. The Wallowa-Whitman Road Engineers worked very closely with WFLHD and JAL Construction to expedite the repairs. “I would like to recognize the hard work and coordination that went into this project,” said District Ranger Jeff Tomac. “We recognize the importance of this road to our public and our Forest Road Engineers did an outstanding job coordinating with our partners at the FHWA and JAL Construction to ensure this road opened for use this fall. It was a complicated project in a sensitive area and I’m very happy with the professionalism and quality of work to open Road 77 for public use”, continued Tomac.
Forest Service Road 77 begins at State Highway 86 between Richland and Halfway, Oregon. It travels west along the southern edge of the Wallowa Mountains, parallels Eagle Creek, then ends at the Catherine Creek Summit on State Highway 203. The road is popular with hunters, fishermen, campers, and many outdoor enthusiasts. Recreationists seeking entrance to the Eagle Cap Wilderness from the south frequently travel on Road 77. Some of the well-used sites adjacent to Road 77 include: Two-Color Campground and Guard Station, Tamarack and Boulder Park campgrounds, Main Eagle and East Eagle trailheads, and the Bennet Peak area.