Still only a temporary fix, an additional 1,200 tons of gravel has been added to the landslide area and Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) crews continue to maintain the site as a permanent fix is in the works.
Finishing up the design phase that calls for several hundred columns or Rock Shafts to be added to the east side of the road, WSDOT hopes to advertise for interested contractors to start the biding process in early May. With that time-line, it will be possibly June of this year that the site will start to see the first applications of a more permanent repair to the road-weary patch of Highway 101.
The project has been on the WSDOT "Unstable Slope" list for several years as a number one priority and has finally been authorized the $7.3 million required to implement permanent repairs that include design to final completion.
To start the construction process, a temporary road will be cut providing alternating one-way traffic on the west side of the construction zone as the impacted area is cleared away to start drilling "Rock Shafts" that will be set 40-feet into the ground. The area will then be refilled with the dirt that was pulled out and the road repaved to make the repair.
"The temporary road will be about 15 feet lower then the existing highway. But when it is all finished it will be at the current elevation of the road," said a WSDOT engineer.
The work should take an estimated six months.
"If all goes well and we do not hit any delays, such as severe weather or unexpected issues with the ground, we hope that final paving will start by November. This is the best case."
Residents and commercial traffic are advised that the roadway currently remains at a reduced speed and during time of construction alternating traffic will be allowed around the construction site. Drivers should expect delays during the time of construction and plan for addition time if traveling through the work zone.