Source: Washington State News 2
Doug Adamson, communications, 360-2716
Monday reopening follows more than two weeks of landslide repairs
ASHFORD – Both lanes of State Route 706 east of Ashford have reopened to all travelers after large mudslides closed the highway Thursday, Feb. 6. The road reopened at 6:15 a.m. Monday, Feb. 24.
Favorable weather allowed the Washington State Department of Transportation’s emergency contractor, Granite Construction, to repair and reopen the highway well in advance of the original mid-March estimate.
Until crews can complete the work, travelers can expect daytime one-way alternating traffic.
“We appreciate the hard work by our employees, our contractor and partner agencies in getting this work completed ahead of schedule,” said WSDOT Regional Administrator John Wynands. “While this is a very important road for users of Mount Rainier National Park, it’s also a lifeline for business operators and those who live in this community.”
WSDOT closed the highway when two mudslides that were each 400 feet long covered the highway. Crews worked to clear a path for emergency responders prior to the contractor arriving on scene. WSDOT documented the recovery process in a blog.
Throughout the closure, several agencies worked together to maintain access for people who live in the slide area. WSDOT worked closely with Pierce County Emergency Management, Eatonville School District, the U.S. Forest Service and Mount Rainier National Park in coordinating caravans for residents in and out of the slide area. WSDOT would like to thank residents and local businesses for their patience during this time.
“We are thankful for the hard work of our staff and thank our colleagues at WSDOT, the Forest Service, and Pierce County for their efforts to reestablish access to the park,” said Mount Rainier National Park Deputy Superintendent Tracy Swartout. “We look forward to welcoming visitors back to Mount Rainier!”
Visit the WSDOT Pierce County construction web page for updated maintenance and construction information. Real-time traveler information is available from the WSDOT app and by following the WSDOT regional Twitter feed.