YALE – Relief is in sight for drivers who use State Route 503 near Speelyai Bay Road. One lane of the highway reopened to traffic at 5 p.m. Mon., May 8.
Following a series of rock blasts to stabilize an estimated 20 million-pound rock slab, Washington State Department of Transportation engineers evaluated the hillside and determined it is safe to allow traffic back on one lane of the highway. SR 503 has been closed since Mon., March 13, when a portion of the hillside slid onto the highway, also known as Lewis River Road.
“We’d like to thank everyone for their patience,” said WSDOT project engineer Lori Figone. “We know this is a vital stretch of road for many folks and appreciate your understanding as we continue work to stabilize the slope.”
While contractor crews continue slope stabilization efforts, a temporary barrier will be installed to separate traffic from the hillside. The barrier creates a safe workplace for crews while also protecting drivers.
Traffic on both directions of the highway will alternate through a single-lane, around–the-clock with a temporary signal. Flaggers will move traffic through the work zone during work hours, Mondays through Saturdays, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. The speed limit also will be reduced to 25 mph to help improve safety for all highway users.
- Long-term stabilization work including rock anchoring and bolting will begin next week and continue into the summer.
- Intermittent full closures of the highway may occur as stabilization work continues.
- Alternating traffic on the one lane of highway near Speelyai Bay Road will continue until the project is complete.
- A posted detour route will remain in place until the project is complete. This gives drivers another option around the work and provides access when both lanes are closed for blasting and stabilization work.