Upgrade of NW Soccer Park to be detailed Tuesday
Winter weather takes a toll on roadways each season, whether a washout that closed a lane on Interstate 5 in southwestern Washington or a washout that wiped out a lane of US 12 over White Pass that will require a more substantial fix.
December marked an especially dramatic washout for US 12 in Washington State, a two-lane highway near Mt. Rainier that connects the west side of the state to the east side south of Interstate 90.
Rockslides added tricky work for crews already dealing with a full slope slide under the eastbound lane and shoulder at milepost 142 of the US 12 highway. A smaller washout a mile away cleaned out the shoulder of the roadway, providing obvious concern for state crews dealing with an unstable area. And another washout occurred just 12 miles away.
As crews cleared debris from rockslides and adjacent mud and snow, even getting contractor equipment—Granite Construction was selected by the Washington State Dept. of Transportation for the emergency repairs—to the location can prove a difficult endeavor.
Initial geotechnical examination of portions of the washout show that there remains a possibility that the best way to repair the roadway is with a soil nail wall, an earth retaining wall that uses high-strength steel rods to support the embankment under the roadway.
But just getting to that point can prove tricky, as crews use different strategies, such as backfilling washed out areas with rock and clearing ditches, to help stave off any worsening of the situation.
And with any project in mountain passes in the winter, all future work remains heavily weather dependent, especially as rain and snow can continue to change the circumstances in the area and on the highway.
Every winter provides a lesson in quick-response action. This winter will prove no different.
Follow Tim Newcomb on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.