NASELLE – Washington State Department of Transportation maintenance crews have closed a 9-mile stretch of State Route 401, also known as Lewis and Clark Trail Highway, after heavy rainfall on Wednesday, Oct. 27, triggered a debris slide on to the roadway.
For the safety of the traveling public, SR 401 will remain closed between the Astoria-Megler Bridge at milepost 0.00 and Knappton Road at milepost 9.0 for an estimated four to six weeks. Travelers who need access on either side of the closure will detour using SR 4 and US 101.
“Safety is our number one priority for both the people who use our roads and our employees who work to keep our roads and highways open,” said WSDOT Project Engineer Joanna Lowrey. “While we understand that travel delays due to the road closure can be frustrating, we appreciate the public’s patience as we work to safely reopen the highway.”
After WSDOT geotechnical engineers assessed the stability of the slope above the roadway, they determined additional debris could fall and needs to be removed. WSDOT is working to hire an emergency contractor to complete the removal.
This slide is in the same vicinity of the highway closure earlier this year, which had the full stretch of SR 401 closed for several weeks. On Tuesday, Feb. 23, WSDOT maintenance crews closed the full length of SR 401 after several days of heavy rainfall deteriorated the roadway to the point of becoming a safety hazard. On April 15, contractor crews opened a temporary single lane bypass road, restoring travel through the area. Construction work to stabilize the adjacent slope and perform long-term repairs to the highway are scheduled to begin in spring 2022.
There is no estimated time for reopening the highway. Drivers should continue to avoid this area and use alternate routes.