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Tuesday, April 05, 2011
Heidi Sause, WSDOT Communications, 360-600-7824 (Vancouver)
Highway expected to reopen early next week
STELLA – State Route 4 will remain closed just west of Germany Creek Road (milepost 50) until early next week while crews stabilize a slope threatening to slide onto the highway.
The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) closed the highway Tuesday morning after 200 cubic yards of mud and debris flowed onto the roadway and blocked both lanes of traffic.
Stella is on the Washington side of the Columbia River, about five miles west of Longview.
Debris continued to fall onto the roadway throughout the day, and a geotechnical assessment this afternoon determined that a portion of the hillside 100 feet above the highway is unstable. The soil is saturated from recent heavy rains, and the unstable mass could shift and bring debris onto SR 4 with little warning.
Drivers should continue to use US 30 in Oregon as a detour. While the highway is closed, WSDOT is covering fees for drivers to use the Puget Island Ferry between Puget Island and Westport, Ore, and the boat will operate around the clock to help drivers reach their destinations.
WSDOT will hire an emergency contractor to excavate the unstable slope and remove dangerous trees. Crews will work seven days a week to stabilize the slope and reopen the road to drivers.
Emergency vehicles will be escorted through the closure area by WSDOT and Washington State Patrol.
Drivers can stay up to date by visiting WSDOT’s Travel Alerts Web page and by calling 5-1-1 or 1-800-695-ROAD.
Visit the WSDOT Flickr site for photos of the landslide.
WSDOT keeps people, businesses and the economy moving by operating and improving the state's transportation systems. To learn more about what we're doing, go to www.wsdot.wa.gov/news for pictures, videos, news and blogs. Real time traffic information is available at www.wsdot.wa.gov/traffic or by dialing 5-1-1.
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