Washington State Department of Transportation crews opened a new stretch of State Route 410 Thursday, nearly three years after a landslide destroyed part of the highway and cut off direct access between Chinook Pass and the town of Naches, a news release said.
For the residents who live along this scenic byway, it’d been a costly few years both with money as well as time - drivers added up to 20 minutes to their commutes via the detour.
“People here are really looking forward to getting things back to the way they used to be,” said George Ahrens, Nile Valley resident. “The new highway brings closure to our small community.”
Nile Valley residents and business owners were first in line Thursday to drive the new section of SR 410, which is now routed along the toe of the landslide. WSDOT staff joined Sen. Curtis King, Reps. Norm Johnson and Charles Ross, Yakima County officials, a representative from Gov. Gregoire’s office, the Federal Highway Administration, and contractor Apollo, Inc. crews to cut a ribbon across the new highway Thursday morning.
"This project required courage, leadership, passion and caring to get things done. Above all, it required cooperation. Everybody came together to get the job done." said Schuyler Hoss, Gov. Gregoire’s regional representative.
The legislature approved funding for the $9.7 million project in 2011. Construction began in March 2012 and took five months to complete. The new section of the route is a little more than a mile long, has two lanes with shoulders and a 55 mph speed limit. Crews also widened and paved the intersection of Nile Loop Road and SR 410.
WSDOT will return the 35 mph temporary route, also known as Nile Loop Road, to Yakima County for local access.