Five months after the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs broke ground on the site for the Plateau Travel Center, at the Madras Industrial Site, walls are up, the roof is on, and underground tanks are in place.
Contractor Kirby Nagelhout Construction broke ground April 21 on the 13,500-square-foot, $8.5 million project, which includes a 3,000-square-foot convenience store, deli, 70-seat restaurant, gaming area with about 30 Class II slot machines, public restrooms, four showers, and laundry facilities for travelers. The contractor anticipates that it will take about 10 months to complete.
"We're actually doing well with the schedule," said Chris Neumaier, project manager for Kirby Nagelhout. "We're targeting to be done by mid-February."
The facility has four entrances: the main entrance into the convenience store on the north side, near the auto-fueling stations; a second entrance to the store on the east side, near the truck-fueling stations; a third on the west side to access the restaurant; and a fourth on the south side of the building, near the parking for semitrucks.
The interior is framed and the contractor is beginning to put up drywall.
On the exterior, crews are currently working on installation of decorative concrete block, and metal panels, and painting of the fiber cement siding.
Canopies are in place for the auto fueling stations on the north side and the truck fueling stations on the west, with 25,000-gallon underground tanks for unleaded fuel and for diesel. Additionally, a 16,000-gallon tank for off-road diesel for farm-type vehicles and a 1,000-gallon tank for diesel exhaust fluids will expand the travel center's offerings.
The 10.45-acre site is located on Cherry Lane, just west of U.S. Highway 26. The tribes purchased the property in July 1977, and placed it in trust for the tribes. It was annexed into the Madras city limits in 2004, along with the rest of the industrial site.
For about three years prior to the groundbreaking, the tribes had been working on the project — removing an existing building, entering into an intergovernmental agreement to abandon a rail spur on the project, obtaining approval for the project from the Tribal Council, and acquiring permits from the city.
Travis Wells, planning engineer and project manager for the tribes, noted that an agreement with the city includes access to roads, sewer, and police service.
The tribes have worked with Bright Wood, which owns the property to the south and to the east, to coordinate access to the property. "They relocated some hydrants on the east side (of the property) and built a 6-foot fence," said Wells.
"We've also worked with North Unit Irrigation District, in conjunction with the Bureau of Reclamation, for stormwater management," he said, adding that they will have bioswales and concrete check dams to control runoff.
The property will be paved from about 30 feet behind the building all the way to Cherry Lane, with parking for cars on the north and west, and parking for semitrucks on the graveled area behind the facility.
"We anticipate parking for about 70 trucks," said Wells.
When the tribes broke ground on the project, it was estimated that the travel center would employ 30-40 people, with preference given to tribal members.
"We're in the process of working organization charts and figuring out how many people we'll need," said Jeff Carstensen, general manager for Indian Head Casino, who is overseeing the project. "We're trying to get our budgets done and then we'll start on that, probably in December."
In the meantime, Carstensen said that they have received applications for the position of manager, and are conducting interviews.
Access to the travel center from U.S. Highway 26 at Cherry Lane will be modified to lengthen the deceleration lane for southbound traffic to about 350 feet, widen the turn lane and change the median on Cherry Lane.
"The civil engineers did a good job addressing that," said Neumaier, who believes that the entire project has proceeded smoothly, so far. "On the whole, it's gone very well. The city's been great to work with."