With new FEMA money, county can buy all Oso mudslide tracts November 19, 2015
Timber company loses bid to avoid Oso mudslide litigation November 2, 2015
Interior secretary at Oso: Funding needed for scientific research October 16, 2015
Timber company says it bears no responsibility in Oso mudslide October 2, 2015
Judge limits extent of claims in Oso mudslide litigation August 26, 2015
Victims of Oso mudslide still await buyouts, 16 months later August 3, 2015
Oso survivors pay forward support they once received July 13, 2015
Couple shared tragedy, loss of Oso, but found love July 5, 2015
Oso mudslide trial pushed to June 2016 July 2, 2015
Study: Real cause of Oso mudslide still unknown June 27, 2015
“We’re hoping to wrap up that work by Thursday afternoon,” state Department of Transportation spokesman Travis Phelps said.
The gravel and dirt road between Darrington and Granite Falls typically closes for winter and reopens in late spring.
With reduced speed limits, it won’t be a substitute for Highway 530, which for the foreseeable future will remain covered in thousands of cubic yards of debris from the Oso mudslide on Saturday.
For now, Darrington can only be reached via Highway 20 in Skagit County, which connects with Highway 530 north of Darrington.
State and county crews hope to make the Mountain Loop passable to most types of vehicles.
“It’s meant as a detour to get people from point A to point B in the interim as we work to get Highway 530 back on track,” Phelps said. “We’re going to make sure it’s travelable for most types of vehicles. We don’t want to open up something that’s going to get people stuck or mess up their car in any way.”
As for Highway 530, it’s too early to speculate about when it might reopen.
“The area is not safe for our crews,” Phelps said. “We need to make sure the hillside is stable. We need to make sure that Snohomish County and other rescue crews can do their work before we see what kind of shape the road is in under the debris.”
Once the area stabilizes, the state expects to hire private contractors to clean up the debris, he said.
County Council Chairman Dave Somers said he and his colleagues stand ready to expedite any repairs or recovery efforts, but they won’t know what’s needed for quite some time.
“We’re still in a situation where the slide is active,” Somers said. “I’d expect that for a few weeks or even months before it stabilizes, so I expect it’ll be quite some time before that road is opened.”
Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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