Local Information

Rockfall risk will keep SR 503 east of Woodland closed through the spring

Wednesday, March 22, 2017 - 12:43

Tamara Greenwell, communications, 360-905-2060
Lori Figone, project engineer, 360-905-1500

Additional assessment needed before cleanup work begins

YALE – Drivers who travel to the areas near the north end of Lake Merwin and Yale Lake will need to add extra time in their trips throughout the spring.

With recent assessments of the hillside above State Route 503 near Speelyai Bay Road revealing additional movement near the cliff face, and the potential for large rock slabs to fall on to the highway, the Washington State Department of Transportation will keep the road closed for an indeterminate amount of time.

WSDOT geotechnical engineers have been unable to safely access the site for a closer look, but used an aerial drone for evaluation and to gather survey data.

“We want to begin cleanup and repair work as soon as possible,” said WSDOT project engineer Lori Figone. “Once access is safe, we’ll have a clearer picture of the extent of the repair work and the timetable to get the job done.”

Next steps

For the next several weeks, WSDOT will monitor the movements of the hillside and incorporate the additional data into a construction contract that will remove unstable rock and debris while stabilizing the hillside.

SR 503 closed on Monday, March 13, when a debris slide knocked trees and rocks down onto the highway, also known as Lewis River Road.

Drivers can sign up to receive updates about the work with WSDOT’s email list for Cowlitz County.

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