A stretch of U.S. Hwy. 2 in the Waterville Plateau will likely reopen ahead of schedule after large chunks of the roadway were taken out by a mudslide about a month ago. 

The Washington State Department of Transportation (DOT) announced a contractor, Hurst Construction, LLC of East Wenatchee, was hired to handle the repair project, which was started on July 20. 

The highway had been closed down since July 11 after heavy damage from the mudslide, and Governor Inslee followed on July 24 with an emergency proclamation to activate state resources to assist with recovery efforts. 

DOT project engineer Jeff Deal says there's been urgency to get U.S. 2 reopened as soon as possible. 

"Since this is an emergency, we're going to be trying to get the road open towards the end of the week next week," said Deal. "And it's looking like that's what's going to happen. 

The project would beat the Aug. 23 emergency deadline by five days if the highway opens next Friday, Aug.18. 

The biggest lift has been refilling all the ground that was washed away by the mudslide. Approximately 10,000 cubic yards of rock material had to be brought in to make up the difference. 

Deal says the biggest holdup since then was finding a crew to repave the roadway. 

“That’s really what we’ve been, kind of, limited on,” Deal said. “Everyone’s paving across the state right now. There are very few paving crews available. We finally secured one. They’re going to be out there starting work Thursday. 

Deal estimates the damaged portion of the highway will be repaved by the upcoming weekend. 

But it’ll still take several more days to finish the project. A large portion of guardrail taken out during the mudslide will have to be replaced, which can only be done after repaving is finished. About 3,000 feet of damaged guardrail was removed. 

Work on slopes beside the roadway will also need to be done for safety reasons. 

And finally, the road will be restriped before it reopens, a procedure normally left until days or weeks later to let the new pavement cure. 

Governor Inslee’s emergency proclamation requires the highway to be reopened within a 30-day working window. 

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