Al Gilson, Communications, 509-324-6015 or 509-990-1504
The Washington State Department of Transportation has hired a contractor to work on an unstable slope above a section of State Route 31 just south of Metaline. Scarsella Bros. of Seattle and their sub-contractors will begin moving equipment into the area as soon as Friday, April 7.
Crews will use a tall crane to remove loose material about 90 feet above the roadway. The crane is required because the unstable slope makes it too dangerous for personnel to work from the top of the hill. The crane will drop the loose clay and trees onto the highway, where contractor and WSDOT crews will haul it away.
Following the cleanup, WSDOT geologists will examine the slope and determine if the roadway is safe for traffic. There is currently no timetable for reopening the highway.
Melting snow pack and record rainfall saturated a high bank of clay soil above SR 31, causing a slide with mud, and trees falling onto the highway. WSDOT closed highway for motorists’ safety on March 18. Drivers can continue to use Sullivan Lake Road as a detour for passenger vehicles, although it is under seasonal weight restrictions.