Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Mudslide closes SR 109 in Grays Harbor County

Update: Feb. 2, 2021
During the morning hours of Tuesday, Feb. 2, crews reopened the highway at milepost 3. Travelers will see concrete barrier installed on the westbound shoulder as a containment measure to prevent small debris from entering the travel lanes. Our engineering geologists surveyed the site on Monday, Feb. 1 and discovered no significant damage that would indicate future slope concerns. As with many slide sites, some material may continue to slough from the hillside. Maintenance crews will continue to monitor the roadway and the hillside above. Thank you for your patience.

Update: Jan. 31, 2021
During the overnight hours of Jan. 30, additional debris from the hillside above SR 109 fell onto the highway. Out of an abundance of caution, crews closed the roadway again at milepost 3 until our geotechnical engineers can inspect the site and recommend any additional repairs if required. The detour using Powell Rd, Ocean Beach Rd, US 101 and the SR 109 Spur has been temporarily reestablished.

Update: Jan. 30, 2021
Following a large-scale clean-up effort, State Route 109 near Grays Harbor Boulevard reopened at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 30. The detour using Powell, Road, Ocean Beach Road, US 101 and the SR 109 Spur also has been removed. Thank you for your patiience as crews worked to reopen the highway.

Update: Jan. 27, 2021
Emergency contractor crews continue to remove an enormous amount of earth and debris as part of the ongoing effort to reopen SR 109 west of Hoquiam. We do not have a date yet as to when the highway will reopen.

Update: Jan. 20, 2021
Through an emergency contract, Brumfield Construction Inc. will begin clearing debris and downed trees as early as Friday, Jan. 22. Once the woody debris is removed, crews will better understand the scope of the repairs needed to reopen the highway. For safety concerns, all work will be conducted during daytime hours. SR 109 remains closed near milepost 3 until further notice.
By Cara Mitchell

During the afternoon of Sunday, Jan. 17, a section of the hillside above State Route 109 just north of Grays Harbor Boulevard near Hoquiam broke away and swept across the highway.

Unlike the slide that occurred a mile away on January 8, which was cleared in one day, this one is much larger. We know this much: stabilizing and reopening SR 109 will require an emergency contract.

Our engineering geologists spent Monday, Jan. 18 at the slide taking measurements and recording data that will help us plan what our next steps are. At this time we don't have an estimate for when the highway may reopen.
The slide blocking SR 109 is estimated to be about 300 feet long and up to 90 feet high.

They estimate the slide is 300 feet long and up to 90 feet high. About one-third of the slide debris is on the highway or in the bay. Another two-thirds of the debris is detached from the hillside above SR 109 but at this point remains up on the slope.
Large trees and boulders are among the debris that came down in the slide blocking SR 109.

There are several trees intertwined with rocks and soil. Our engineering geologists are discussing options for safely removing the debris and mitigating the slope.
There are still large rocks and other debris on the hillside that will need to be removed and/or stabilized.

About a 15-minute detour

SR 109 has closure points at Powell Road and at the SR 109 Spur. Travelers are being detoured from SR 109 using Powell Road, Ocean Beach Road, US 101 and the SR 109 Spur. The detour route adds about 15 minutes to your commute.

While SR 109 remains closed at the SR 109 Spur intersection in Hoquiam, local access is available up to Grays Harbor Boulevard. Southbound SR 109 is closed at Powell Road. Local access on southbound SR 109 is available up to Grays Harbor City Court.

We ask everyone to please adhere to the posted speed limits on the detour route.

When things like this happen, the images are often stunning and can attract attention. For your safety, we ask that you please stay behind the closure points. A lot of slide material hasn't come down yet. We will share images of the slide and the work to restore the highway on our Flickr album.

The pressing question everyone wants to know is when will SR 109 reopen. Unfortunately, we don't have an answer to that just yet. We understand this is a popular highway for both locals and visitors in Grays Harbor County. Know our team is working to resolve this issue as quickly as we safely can.

We will update this blog as work progresses.


Bob said...

The detour signs going to ocean shores needs to be better visable at night.

WSDOT said...

Thanks for letting us know. We will have our crews take a look.

gjojo said...

YES I agree! At 5 pm Monday nite my daughter only saw ONE detour sign (she was coming home to OS)... she followed that sign, then she was lost & didn’t know where the hell she was going because there were no other signs! It was pitch black & she had her daughter w/her. Thank God for GPS!!

WSDOT said...

Our crews have had detour route signs in place since the afternoon the slide was discovered, Sunday, Jan. 17. To improve visibility, we did transition four of them to the 48” orange/black this week.

Shelly bennett said...

Still cannot see the detour signs!

Unknown said...

The detour sign to Powell Road are non existent, hard to see at night, easy to get lost.

Scott said...

Detour signs are almost worthless at night. The need to be higher and larger. The one forPowell Rd should be one of the portable illuminated electric signs as often used in road work.

WSDOT said...

Scott, thanks for letting us know. Our recently reimplemented detour signage is under review for improved visibility.

Sandra Paulino said...

Is this route still closed?

WSDOT said...

Sandra, crews reopened SR 109 today around noon. Thanks for your patience!

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