Tuesday, Feb. 23 – WSDOT crews making more progress on clearing the rock slide on SR 971/S. Lakeshore Rd. on the South Shore of Lake Chelan. (Video by Steven Foreman)
Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT) crews cannot yet predict when SR 971/S. Lakeshore Road will re-open, although they continue to make progress on clearing the rockslide at milepost 11. Crews say that they’ll continue to clear rock debris from the roadway for the next few days.
WSDOT reported that the original rockslide that occurred last Thursday, Feb. 18 was approximately 20 feet deep and 50 feet wide. Some rocks were the size of patrol cars.
“After crews get a little more material removed, we’ll get to see the road surface. That should be happening soon,” said WSDOT lead technician Shelby Winkle of Wenatchee. “We’re already starting to see remnants of broken asphalt, so we are expecting some roadway damage.”
Winkle added that crews will do one more rock blast tomorrow morning, and then will be done blasting the site.
“We’re unsure of when we can get the roadway reopen at this time due to the amount of material still on the roadway, and we still have not seen the road surface to determine when we can get traffic back on it safely,” Winkle said. “We’ll have a better understanding of that when we see the road surface this afternoon.”
The rock slide is suspected to have occurred because of the freezing and thawing effect of moisture that pushed the rocks out of the slope, a common occurrence in the spring months.
“We’re making good progress here,” Winkle said. Climbers scaled the rock and finished clearing overhead hazards so that WSDOT crews could continue to work on the roadway.
(By Kaitlin Hetterscheidt and Steven Foreman)