A massive landslide between Clallam Bay and Sekiu was created by this week’s storms. (Washington State Department of Transportation)

A massive landslide between Clallam Bay and Sekiu was created by this week’s storms. (Washington State Department of Transportation)

Elwha River Bridge reopens after storms

Crews work to clear path to West End

The Elwha River Bridge on U.S. Highway 101 west of Port Angeles reopened Wednesday morning after it had been shut down as a precaution due to Monday’s rainstorms.

However, the West End remained largely cut off from ground traffic access due to continued closures on Highway 101 at Lake Crescent near Sol Duc Hot Springs Road and on state Highway 112 west of Joyce in multiple places, according to the state Department of Transportation (DOT).

Late Wednesday, crews were able to open U.S. 101 at Lake Crescent near Sol Duc Hot Springs Road to one-lane of alternating traffic with a pilot car from 7 p.m. to 9 a.m. Thursday, with the road closing again for crews to continue work on clearing the road, said Stefanie Randolph, DOT Olympic region communications manager.

U.S. Highway 101 south of Forks at milepost 185 near the Clallam/West Jefferson County line partially opened late Wednesday to one-vehicle alternating traffic. No time was provided for possible full reopening.

“They’re working really hard. We just don’t know when it will open,” Randolph said.

Up-to-date road conditions and closures can be found at DOT’s Twitter feed, @wsdot_tacoma.

DOT officials have been working to clear the roads of debris and moving water to avoid further damage, Randolph said.

A major landslide on state Highway 112 near milepost 15.8 broke a water main into Sekiu, depriving residents of fresh water.

Bottles of water flown in by the volunteer pilots of the Clallam County Disaster Airlift Response Team (DART) were available for those residents without water service.

Water bottles are being held at the Clallam Bay Fire Station at 60 Eagle Crest Way, and residents without water can pick them up before 5 p.m. today. It is also possible that the officials will have refilling stations available today as well, said Fire Chief Heather Quinones late Wednesday.

Six water bottles were allocated per person and the PUD asked everyone to “please help to honor this to ensure that there is enough for everyone,” the notice said.

Clallam Bay residents remained under an extreme water conservation notice, but officials expect the reservoir to be empty today, which is why the water bottle distribution was moved to the fire station, Quinones said.

The PUD said it had not been able to refill the water reservoir because of the same water main break that was keeping Sekiu dry.

As of 3 p.m. Wednesday, Clallam County PUD officials were working on plans for a possible refilling station and/or a bypass line of the broken water main to bring fresh water to Sekiu, said Nicole Hartman, communications manager.

DOT had geologists on site Wednesday to analyze some of the damage done by the slide, Randolph said.

“We don’t yet know the full extent of that slide,” Randolph said early Wednesday afternoon. “We don’t know how it affected the roadway beneath yet.”

There were 10 to 12 smaller slides between mileposts 0 to 11 on state Highway 112, and officials were able to clear them by 5 p.m. Wednesday. That portion of road is no longer closed.

As of 4 p.m. Wednesday, all but two of the North Olympic Peninsula public utility district customers who had lost electricity due to Monday’s rain and wind storms had their power restored. One of those still without electricity was in Port Townsend and the other was in Clallam Bay.

________

Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at [email protected]

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