Drivers who utilize State Route 410, particularly east of Chinook Pass, will hopefully have a permanent route to use this fall after a massive landslide took out a quarter-mile chunk of the highway in 2009.
A Washington State Department of Transportation press release issued Wednesday announced that preliminary construction on a permanent fix for the slide area would begin March 1.
Since the slide occurred, drivers have been using an emergency route that was very quickly built and won the state agency national recognition. The detour is five miles long on a paved 35 mph two-lane roadway. Drivers access the detour from State Route 410 by turning onto Nile Loop Road.
Once the permanent route is complete, “Cross-state travelers, hunters, and local residents will all appreciate this faster and more direct route,” said Don Whitehouse, WSDOT regional administrator.
Construction crews need to strengthen the riverbank to prevent the new highway from eroding before the water level rises in the spring. Several buildings are also slated to be removed from the flood plain.
Once groundwater levels recede in June, major construction will begin on support walls and the new highway.
The $9.3 million Nile Valley reconstruction project removes SR 410 traffic from the Nile Loop Road, reestablishing the route near its original location before the landslide.
Drivers will experience only minor traffic delays as the majority of the work will take place within the existing SR 410 closure area.
To learn more about the project, the WSDOT is hosting a meeting on March 27, 2012, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Nile Valley Community Church at 60 Bedrock Lane in Naches.