Emergency contract to begin culvert repair on SR 503 Spur near Cougar starts Dec. 14

On Dec. 5, due to continuous, significant rainfall, the culvert underneath a portion of the SR 503 Spur at milepost 35.7 southwest of Cougar, failed. For travelers safety, WSDOT maintenance crews fully closed both directions of the highway until one lane could be reopened on Dec. 7. Currently, one lane remains open during the emergency repair contract to reestablish the two-lane roadway. Photo courtesy Washington State Department of Transportation
On Dec. 5, due to continuous, significant rainfall, the culvert underneath a portion of the SR 503 Spur at milepost 35.7 southwest of Cougar, failed. For travelers safety, WSDOT maintenance crews fully closed both directions of the highway until one lane could be reopened on Dec. 7. Currently, one lane remains open during the emergency repair contract to reestablish the two-lane roadway. Photo courtesy Washington State Department of Transportation

On Thursday, WSDOT contractors will begin a 30-day emergency contract for slope stabilization, culvert installation and rebuilding of the roadway

COUGAR – Following a culvert failure and washout on State Route 503, also called Lewis River Road, work to reestablish two-lane access will begin today.

On Thursday, Dec. 14, contractors working for the Washington State Department of Transportation will begin a 30-day emergency contract for slope stabilization, culvert installation and rebuilding of the roadway near Cougar in Cowlitz County.

What to expect

  • Beginning Dec. 14, travelers may experience intermittent delays through the work zone of up to 20 minutes. People should plan for extra travel time, slow down through the work zone and look for flaggers.
  • Freight restrictions will remain in place until the two-lane roadway has been restored.

“We recognize that SR 503 Spur is the primary roadway, and depending on the season, the only way in and out of Cougar,” said WSDOT Assistant Regional Administrator for Development and Delivery Devin Reck. “Reestablishing a safe and reliable connection for all roadway users is our top priority.”

On Tuesday, Dec. 5, WSDOT crews closed both directions of SR 503 Spur at milepost 35.7 due to a culvert failure from overwhelming rainfall. Later that afternoon, the eastbound lane of the highway eroded and washed away. On Thursday, Dec. 7, one lane was reopened at this location allowing traffic to alternate in each direction, with truck traffic prohibited to prevent further damage to the roadway. Maintenance crews have been working at the washout location around the clock since the culvert failure occurred to monitor water levels and roadway erosion.

WSDOT does not have a timeline for when during the 30-day contract the two-lane roadway will be fully restored. To receive future updates regarding reopening of the SR503 Spur to two lanes of traffic and freight restrictions lifted, subscribe to WSDOT travel notifications, Cowlitz County email list.

This 30-day emergency contract work is being done by NW Construction General Contracting Inc.

Travelers can get the latest traffic details by visiting WSDOT’s travel page or by downloading the WSDOT mobile app


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