9/6/2012 10:41:00 PM Portion of Senator Highway closed due to rain damage
Prescott National Forest Bradshaw District Ranger Linda Jackson and PNF Soils and Watershed scientist Dave Moore survey the damage from the first big 2012 monsoon storm to hit County Road 59 and Forest Road 89, where Muldoon Gulch leads to the Peck Mine and the area burned by the Gladiator wildfire.
Senator is a popular back route from Prescott to Crown King, so the Forest Service has tried to keep it open as much as possible despite damage from the Gladiator Fire and subsequent monsoon rains, Prescott National Forest Engineer Dan Salcido said.
A special Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) team mobilized to identify necessary repairs and hire contractors during the Gladiator Fire.
But monsoon rains have been well above average in the burn area this year, with more than 10 inches falling in some areas.
"The water just keeps coming and coming," Salcido said.
The forest road is temporarily closed in the area of the Gladiator wildfire, from Hooper Saddle near Crown King north to Forest Trail 215, a few miles south of historic Palace Station.
The Forest Service originally closed that portion of the highway shortly after the Gladiator Fire started back in May. The Gladiator wildfire burned 16,240 acres between May 13 and June 13, mostly on the Prescott National Forest.
Officials reopened Senator on Aug. 13, a few weeks earlier than anticipated, after making repairs related to the fire and monsoon flooding, Salcido said.
But culverts haven't been able to handle some of the heavier rains that have dropped more than two inches in a short period of time. Road sections have been covered with standing water, washed out or sinking.
At least one driver recently became stuck on the road and needed help getting out, Salcido said.
The new closure gate on the north end of the closure is several miles south of the previous gate, to accommodate recreational users as much as possible, Salcido added.
County officials also have been forced to make numerous repairs on the main road up to Crown King from Cleator, County Road 59. It also has faced at least one temporary closure. It's now open but can be dangerous when heavy rains are falling, such as last Sunday.
The Forest Service hopes to reopen Senator Highway when monsoon rains end.
In the meantime, contractors are clearing mud and logs from the road, extending culverts, replacing some of the culverts with larger ones and adding catch basins.
"Forest officials urge all visitors to use caution while driving on forest roads during the monsoon season," Prescott Forest Public Information Officer Debbie Maneely added. "Roads may be impassable due to rocks and trees blocking the roadway or flowing washes and saturated soil."
At least one rockslide and two blown culverts have impacted roads on Mingus Mountain northeast of Prescott Valley. Forest Road 104 into the Mingus Springs Camp was briefly closed, Salcido said.
In some cases, the Forest Service doesn't have control over repairs or closures because the roads go through private land where the Forest Service has no easement.
A private landowner closed a portion of Forest Road 413 that runs through his private land between Mingus Mountain and Jerome because of a rockslide, Salcido said.
For updates on Prescott Forest road conditions call 443-8000.
Posted: Friday, September 07, 2012
Article comment by:
I realize that no one could have prevented the flood damage that resulted from the fire.
However... Earlier this year, much of the forest was closed due to dry conditions.
The main access to the Bradshaws from Prescott, the Senator Highway and S.Mt. Vernon, has been a mess for months, and will continue to be so until... When?