Vancouver-based Conway Construction won a contract from the Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration for over $13 million to restore some of the last unfinished sections of the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail on the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge.
David Conway, president of Conway Construction Co., said the contract is part of three “schedules” along the trail that will account for a total of about $28 million. Restoration and rebuilding work lies between Viento State Park and Mitchell Point, and Conway plans to start construction in late January.
“Some of the original highway was wiped out in ’50s,” he said. “There are chunks that serpentine the Gorge. Wherever it’s not there, we’ll take it and continue a 12-foot-wide pathway.”
About 68 of the original 73 miles of the old highway are available for cars, foot traffic or bicycles.
Conway was awarded the base contract for $13,135,744. Until March 2022, the Federal Highway Administration retains the rights to also award Conway an additional $10.9 million and $4.3 million for work on what would be 2.7 miles of the 5 remaining miles of the trail.
The new contract will allow Conway to expand its staff by about five or 10 positions; it currently has five job openings and a staff of about 30.
Conway has worked on two other sections of the trail, including the Oneonta Tunnel, Conway said.
“It’s going to be a beautiful addition to the Gorge that I think benefits Washington and Oregon,” he said.