From staff reports
The Allegheny National Forest’s Marienville Ranger District has temporarily closed nearly 10 miles of the Loleta Grade Road or Forest Service Road 131 due to deteriorating road conditions. The closure is located between the Lamonaville Road intersection south to the intersection with State Road 2005 at the Loleta Recreation Area.
The four-mile segment of Loleta Grade Road from Lamonaville Road south to Forest Road 228 will be closed until spring. It was initially closed in May for reconstruction. At a cost of nearly $650,000, the Forest Service contracted to reconstruct the road template, replace culverts and reinforce the drainage ditches. In addition, approximately three miles were resurfaced.
“To protect this investment and to allow the road to set up properly, we expect to keep most of this segment closed through the spring,” said District Ranger Rob Fallon. “The Forest Service will continue to seek funds to surface the remaining mile of this segment, and to replace the large culvert where Gurgling Run passes under the road.”
“We understand that this closure inconveniences hunters and the general recreating public. This an unfortunate consequence in trying to assure that the investment in this segment of Forest Road 131 provides a good road surface for many years to come. We ask for the public’s patience and cooperation in helping us to restore and maintain this road,” Fallon said.
The five-and-a half-mile segment of Forest Road 131 from Forest Road 228 south to State Road 2005 at Loleta, has been closed to the public since 2015 and will remain closed indefinitely, according to the forest service.
Road segments have been undermined by Millstone Creek and a slump has developed in one of these segments.
“The road is in a general state of disrepair, with four large culverts needing replacements and several locations where the road base has failed,” said Fallon. He estimated that reconstructing this segment of Forest Road 131 would be in excess of $1.4 million, with no time frame for when funds may come available. Fallon noted that some oil and gas operators may still use part of this segment of road to access their private property.
For additional information, contact the Marienville Ranger District at (814) 927-5700.