Protections in place for petroglyphs in construction area

South Valley Connector Project will not affect ancient tribal artifacts

Protections in place for petroglyphs in construction area

POCATELLO, Idaho - Thursday the Pocatello City Council approved $47,500 for the monitoring of Native American petroglyphs.

Those petroglyphs are near the construction site of the South Valley Connector (or Cheyenne overpass) where they are planning on blasting out a path for the road.

These petroglyphs predate even the Native American tribes that used to live on the land.  Essentially, they are working to preserve a piece of history that would otherwise be literally blown away.

The petroglyphs are hard to find, but the Cheyenne Overpass on 2nd Ave. will eventually be casting a shadow on them.

"There is a federal regulation or requirement that says we need to have a cultural monitor," said Pocatello Mayor Brian Blad after Thursday's City Council meeting. "What that person does is go around and check the petroglyphs where we're blasting to make sure we're doing that blasting right so we don't destroy them."

In the budget, there are 954 hours, or 119 days worth of management. Labor is divided into four categories: project manager, cultural resource, technical review and GIS. The bulk of the money, paid at an hourly rate of $22.61 will be paid to cultural resource, totaling $21,567.84.

The days spent working will generally be the days the construction company conducts any blasting. They will also be looking for any other artifacts that crop up in the process.

Blad says the city cares about the Native American history here.

"It's being a good neighbor, really. We found the issue and so we went ahead and did what we were supposed to do."

He also said no taxpayer dollars have been spent yet, and that includes this new $47,500. The budget is expected to cover any additional artifacts found. The city says they don't want to spend more than their approved budget.

Our news desk has also received a few emails from people worried about earthquakes. It's important to remember that the construction includes clearing the way with explosive materials.

If you feel the ground shaking, it's more likely those explosives and not an earthquake.

The three bridges for the project are expected to be put in next summer. The project should be complete by late next year.

For the full information about this topic, click here for a link to the city's website. 

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