The Washington State Department of Transportation (DOT) will begin a project to stabilize a rocky slope above U.S. Highway 97 (US-97) over Blewett Pass next week.

The work will occur at milepost 151, just north of US-97's junction with State Route 970.

"It's at a slope that's had some rocks coming down over the past couple of weeks," explains DOT spokesperson Lauren Loebsack. "Our geotechnical review revealed that we needed to get in there and take some more material off that slope given the conditions that we are seeing there."

Loebsack says the work comes in the wake of a large boulder that fell from the slope earlier this month.

"It's a slope that's right up against the road and two or three weeks ago, we had pretty significant-sized rock come down there and it kind of kept dribbling. So for about a day and a half we had some traffic control there while crews worked to get it stabilized. Our teams also installed a catchment area using jersey barriers."

To expedite the work, the contractor will hold traffic in both directions for 45 minutes at a time, beginning at 8: 15 a.m. The road will open at 9 a.m. for 15 minutes to clear traffic, then close at 9:15 a.m. and continue at the top of each hour up to 5 p.m. each day.
The road will be open to two-way traffic at night.

The work will begin on Monday (March 4) and is expected to last for two weeks.

The emergency project will include mechanical scaling of the problem slope and the installation of dowels to help stabilize it and prevent further incidents.

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