May 14, 2001
SR 202 re-opened
by Valley View staff
The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) re-opened State Route 202 last Friday afternoon after a lengthy closure due to an unstable slope made worse by the recent earthquake. The re-opening will come as a relief for commuters who have been forced to drive a lengthy route to I-90 to make the detour.
Weight limitations, however, are in effect for the road. All vehicles weighing over 16 tons, loaded or unloaded, are prohibited from traveling that section of SR-202. The restriction affects the area between Tokul Road SE (Snoqualmie Falls) and SE Fish Hatchery Road.
According to a statement from WSDOT, the re-opening brought to an end the longest closure of a Washington state highway as a result of the Nisqually quake. State Route 202 (Fall City-Snoqualmie Road) has been closed to all traffic between SE Fish Hatchery Road and Snoqualmie Falls since the earthquake on Feb. 28.
Inspections after the quake revealed significant damage to a 1,000-foot section of the roadway near the falls that included a longitudinal crack in the center of the road that extended over 900 feet. The area was already under close scrutiny by maintenance crews because of an ongoing minor landslide slowly encroaching on the roadway.
After close monitoring and extensive tests of the hillside, WSDOT engineers determined that the hillside could handle traffic in both directions, but with a 16-ton weight restriction in place. WSDOT is currently designing a permanent repair project to secure the hillside and prevent further movement of material into the adjacent creek below.
The current repair proposal includes stabilizing the hillside from the bottom using a rock buttress wall. WSDOT will also work cooperatively with the Department of Fish and Wildlife to make improvements to Tokul Creek below the slide. The repair project is anticipated to begin in the summer of 2002. The 16-ton weight restriction will remain in place until permanent repairs are complete in the fall of 2002.
Crews sealed minor cracks and repainted the roadway striping in preparation for opening the roadway.
WSDOT will monitor the slide area regularly and will implement a contingency closure plan if the roadway monitoring shows evidence of further slope movement. The Washington State Patrol will support WSDOT in their efforts to enforce the weight restriction.
SR 202 is a main east-west artery that carries a significant amount of truck traffic in that area. The estimated traffic volume on SR 202 in that location on an average weekday is approximately 8,000 vehicles per day.