Local Information

SR 26 Adams County bridge repairs and detour begin October 15

Tuesday, October 2, 2018 - 09:27

Jeff Adamson, communications 509-667-2815

The six-week project will affect travel to at least three WSU football games

OTHELLO – October into November – when Washington State University students and fans travel for football games, and traffic volumes can double – is not an ideal time to close a 17.5 mile section of State Route 26 and reroute drivers on a 32-mile detour. This fall, however, there is no choice as a bridge deck needs to be replaced before winter.

The SR 26 bridge east of Othello over two primary BNSF railroad tracks needs deck repairs that require closing the highway for almost six weeks. The closure is scheduled to begin Monday, Oct. 15 and be complete by Thanksgiving, Nov. 22.

The Washington State Department of Transportation deck replacement was originally scheduled for spring 2019, specifically to avoid major WSU events as well as the potato harvest season. But the bridge deck is deteriorating more quickly, prompting WSDOT bridge engineers to move the work to this fall.

Prepare for the closure

  • Plan ahead and allow extra time. The 32-mile detour, using state routes 17, 260 and US 395, adds about 14 miles and 15 additional minutes to the trip to Pullman compared to driving the closed portion of SR 26.
  • Stay alert. On an unfamiliar detour or in congested traffic, a moment’s distraction can lead to fender benders that further clog traffic.
  • Be patient. Staying calm and following the detour signs will keep people who travel moving as smoothly as possible.

WSU football games

The closure will affect at least three WSU football games at Martin Stadium. Fans heading to the following games should be prepared for delays and allow extra time:

  • Oct. 20 versus the University of Oregon Ducks
  • Nov. 3 versus the University of California Golden Bears
  • Nov. 17 versus the University of Arizona Wildcats

Why now?

In January, an 8-foot by 4-foot hole went all the way through the bridge deck, prompting yet another inspection. That hole was patched, one of numerous short-term patches since the deck was scheduled for repair. Those patches are vulnerable to the freeze and thaw cycle of winter. WSDOT bridge engineers determined that with another harsh winter, drivers and the railroad could face additional pavement failures, emergency closures, and a longer and more expensive replacement rather than repair project. The risk of bridge failure advanced the project to this fall instead of next spring. WSDOT’s priority is to ensure the bridge remains safe for travel.


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