Regional News

Daytime closures on US 2 west of Stevens Pass next week

Jul 19, 2012

Travelers crossing Stevens Pass on US 2 should plan for delays up to 20 minutes Monday through Thursday, July 23-26, as crews remove boulders from the mountainside above the highway.

Flaggers will stop traffic periodically westbound at the summit (milepost 64.5) and eastbound three miles east of Scenic (milepost 61.5) near Tunnel Creek. Electronic message signs on both sides of the pass are alerting drivers to the closures.

MidWest Rockfall Inc. scaling crews ran into complications this week, as they worked to stabilize four slopes. Now they have to remove rock that can't be stabilized safely. These rocks are large enough to break through the concrete barriers that protect travelers on the highway below.

"Our contractor crews found rock fractures in a section of the hillside that we had planned to stabilize with rock bolts, so it has to be completely removed instead," said project engineer Mike Andreini of the Washington State Transportation Department. "With the size and location of these boulders, closing the highway completely is the only safe way to bring them down."

This $5.5 million project started in early May and won't be complete until next year. After the scaling, the slopes will be rock bolted, then draped with steel nets.

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