The bypass road under construction at Myrtle between 7th and 8th Streets in Eureka

Eureka driver’s should expect delays on Myrtle Avenue at 8th Street in the coming weeks and months. Due to a “rapidly-developing sinkhole,” the city is planning to replace a nearly 100-year-old pipe under the road.

That’ll require workers to close a section of Myrtle — one of the city’s major arteries — and workers are currently building a temporary gravel bypass road to go around the construction site, which through traffic will have to use for about a month.

City Engineer Jesse Willor told the Outpost that the sinkhole was discovered and patched up a few weeks ago. Further evaluation showed the cause to be a degrading storm drain pipe. Because of holes in the pipe, water was pooling under the road, causing it to depress.

The now patched up sinkhole on Myrtle

In addition to the pipe being roughly 100 years old, Willor said, it was also not large enough for proper storm drainage. The new pipe will be sized appropriately, he said. 

The bypass should be complete in the next couple of days or so, Willor said. Then drivers can expect one lane of Myrtle to be closed for a few days, starting either this week or early next week. Willor was not 100 percent sure when the excavation of Myrtle would begin. But he said probably in about a month. The project is then anticipated to last another month or so. Willor said the goal is to finish as soon as possible, at least before the holidays.

Willor said the there will be another announcement from the city before the closure of Myrtle begins. The bypass road will include access for vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians. The road will be gravel, not paved, and will be removed as soon as the project is complete. Willor wanted to stress that the bypass road is temporary, something he fears some residents are worried about.

The bypass road will also be much slower moving for traffic than Myrtle and during the project, drivers are encouraged to seek alternative routes.

“We ask for the traveling public’s patience,” Willor told the Outpost. “If they can find alternative routes, that will really benefit the people who live around there.”

Press release from the City of Eureka:

Over the last few weeks, motorists and residents may have noticed City crews working in Myrtle Avenue near the intersection of 8th Street. The activity was prompted by a rapidly-developing sinkhole. After much work to determine the cause of the sinkhole, it was determined that a storm drain line deep beneath Myrtle Avenue had partially collapsed. A video inspection of the culvert revealed multiple joint and other failures in the nearly 100- year old pipe. In order to protect the roadway and critical infrastructure within it, the city will be abandoning the pipe and installing a new, larger pipe adjacent to the existing culvert. The new culvert will be designed and sized to accommodate large storm events and provide for fish passage.

Due to the size and depth of the new culvert, the construction operation will require the full width of Myrtle Avenue to be excavated. Rather than close the road and detour traffic on to other City streets, the City has decided to build a temporary bypass road around the construction site. Construction of the bypass road began last week and will be followed by the installation of the culvert.

Members of the public who frequent Myrtle Avenue are advised to seek alternate routes. While a temporary bypass route will be provided, it will not be paved and will be slow moving. Access to the Eureka Skate Park and other businesses/residences in the area will be maintained, but will be impacted as a result of the new bypass configuration. For those who cannot (or choose not to) use an alternate route, please allow for additional travel time to and from your destination, and be aware of workers and equipment within the construction area. Construction is expected to be completed before winter, with Myrtle Avenue being re-opened as soon as possible. Thank you in advance for your cooperation. If you have any questions, please contact the City of Eureka’s Department of Public Works at (707) 441-4203.