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Construction delays on alternative road and upcoming eclipse prompt opening during certain time periods

A delay in construction of an alternative to Teaters Road has prompted a change in when access through the area will be available going forward.

The Prineville BLM District announced Tuesday afternoon that in response to a request from Waibel Ranches, LLC and Crook County, the agency will modify its existing agreement that would have opened Teaters Road to public travel on Aug. 1, 2017.

Starting Aug. 1, Teaters Road will be open Mondays through Thursdays, from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. to allow evening and early morning public access during road construction. The road will open on Friday evenings at 6 p.m. and remain open through Monday mornings at 6 a.m. for full weekend access.

In addition, Teaters Road will be closed completely to public access Aug. 17-24, to offer an uncongested route for emergency services vehicles to access the Ochoco National Forest for rescues, medical needs and wildfire response during the days surrounding the 2017 solar eclipse.

Currently, about five miles of Teaters Road crosses property owned by Waibel Ranches. The property owner had initially closed access to that portion of the road due to consistent litter, poaching and trespassing problems.

The BLM in response pushed to reopen the road, a popular access point to the north fork of the Crooked River, prompting an eventual agreement between the two parties that included construction of a new portion of road that would bypass the west end of the Waibel Ranches property.

"The existing agreement would have opened Teaters Road or the new road on Aug. 1," explained BLM spokesperson Lisa Clark. "They have had some delays in getting permits and then of course we have had worse than normal weather this past winter."

Ordinarily, Teaters Road would have opened on Aug. 1 as outlined in the agreement, with traffic later shifted to the new road once it was completed. The change to a limited access schedule was based on public safety due to construction vehicles on the road, and the need for an emergency access route to the Ochoco National Forest during the period around the 2017 solar eclipse.

In the event of an emergency, Waibel Ranches will cease construction operations to allow unhampered access for emergency vehicles or designated evacuations.

Following the complete closure of Teaters Road Aug. 17-24, access to the road will revert to the original schedule launched Aug. 1 and remain until the alternative road is completed. The timeline for completion of the new road is not known at this time.

Alternate access to the Prineville District North Fork Crooked River also remains available by traveling south through the Ochoco National Forest on Forest Road 4225.

For more information about this closure or the Prineville District BLM, please contact us at 541- 416-6700.

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