Wednesday, January 13, 2016

US 2 closure at Pine Canyon

By Jeff Adamson

**UPDATE**5:00 p.m. Monday, Jan. 25: Crews have reopened US 2 at Pine Canyon four days ahead of schedule. View Flickr album

**UPDATE**11:23 a.m. Friday, Jan. 22: Crews have made good progress on clearing the slide. Workers drilled 20 strategically placed charges into the rock mass and at about 2 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 21, set off the charges, removing 6,500 cubic yards of unstable rock from the north face of Pine Canyon. The blast brought down the intended unstable mass so no more blasting is anticipated. After an inspection and go-ahead, the contractor began removing the 11,000 cubic yards of rock from the roadway on Friday and will work around the clock with a goal of opening the roadway by Friday, Jan. 29.

The rockslide blocking US Highway 2 between Wenatchee and Waterville is proving to be a difficult fix!

An estimated 7,000 cubic yards of rock covers 100 feet of highway. It’s 30 to 40 feet deep in places with boulders the size of trucks. That’s a lot of clean-up; roughly 700 dump truck loads.

Why hasn’t clean up started? 
Safety is our first priority. On Monday, our geotechnical team evaluated the slope above the rockslide and determined that it is unstable. The slope may have several thousand more cubic yards of rock that must be stabilized or removed before its safe for anyone to work in the slide zone below.

Yesterday, we did more evaluation of the slope above the slide using ground based LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging). LIDAR is a surveying technique that provides high resolution topography. That information lets us analyze the stability of this area of concern (see picture below) and determine how we can stabilize or remove it.

LIDAR image of the slide, the area in the red box is approx 6,000 cubic yards of material that expect will also come down off of the hillside.

What we know for sure is that we don't yet have a timeline for reopening the highway. We realize this is very frustrating to not have a timeline. However, safety is our first priority, both for the traveling public and our employees and contractor crews.

There aren’t any easy detour alternatives. 
From the closure point at the bottom of Pine Canyon at Orondo (where US 2 and US 97 split) to Waterville is 10 miles. Now, to get to Waterville from Orondo there are two recommended detour alternatives.
  1. Drive north on US 97 to Brewster and turn onto SR 17 to US 2 (90 miles) and turn back to Waterville (30 more miles). 120 miles total
  2. Or, go south using SR 28 to Soap Lake and turn onto SR 17 to its junction with US 2 (75 miles) and turn back to Waterville. 105 miles total 
What’s the best way to stay updated?


Preston Gallwas said...

Holy moly, what a neat picture. Always makes me a bit nervous when I see signs that read "Rocks" -- as if there is some defense against mother nature when that happens.

Bill Jensen said...

Why not go south to East Wenatchee on HWY 97 and go up to Waterville up Badger Mtn Road? That is a lot shorter than going to Soap Lake.

Bill Jensen said...

Detour through Soap Lake???? Just go south from Orondo on HWY 97 to East Wenatchee, then back north to Waterville on Badger Mtn Road. Much, much shorter!!!

WSDOT said...

Locals in passenger vehicles are using Badger Mtn. Rd., McGinness Cyn., Brown’s Cyn., and McNiel Cyn. To get to Waterville, but Douglas County doesn’t allow us to detour large trucks on those roads due to weight. The detours are for them. (We’ve been helping out Douglas County by plowing those local roads when requested due to the higher traffic volumes and too few plows and operators for them to clear in a timely manner.)

Merv Carrington said...

I haul the mail to watetville every morning and cross badger mountain at 5:30 am. I've seen several semi's pulling 53 ft trailer over badger mountain rd heading toward east Wenatchee all have been coming from waterville way.I've also have met them on some of the sharp corners. Out of state semis.

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