State Highway 112 reopens to two-way traffic

Massive slide cleared, repairs made during months of work

An aerial overview of the slide area shows state Highway 112 at left and a private service road at right. The state Department of Transportation reopened Highway 112 to two-way traffic, although a second slide area still requires about eight weeks of work. (State Department of Transportation)

An aerial overview of the slide area shows state Highway 112 at left and a private service road at right. The state Department of Transportation reopened Highway 112 to two-way traffic, although a second slide area still requires about eight weeks of work. (State Department of Transportation)

CLALLAM BAY — The road is now clear between Sappho and Neah Bay.

The state Department of Transportation reopened state Highway 112 at milepost 15.8 near Clallam Bay to two-way traffic at 6 p.m. Monday after some eight weeks of work following a massive landslide on Nov. 15.

Eagle Crest Way, which has served since Dec. 3 as an emergency detour around the slide, now has been returned to its private property owners and is closed to the traveling public.

The department “would like to thank travelers, residents, the Makah Tribe, and property owners of Eagle Crest Way for their cooperation and support during this project,” officials said in a press release.

“It was really a community effort,” added Tina Werner, DOT spokesperson, on Tuesday.

“We’re very appreciative of their support.”

The area is often subject to slides and presents ongoing maintenance problems each winter, Werner said.

Engineering geologists have documented significant slide activity in the area every 10 to 20 years, beginning in 1954.

“We were ready to reopen the highway on Thursday, but then the highway settled” another 6 inches after it was paved on Wednesday, Werner said.

Workers removed the settled areas and rebuilt the eastbound lane with gravel; the gravel roadway will remain in place while geologists monitor the hillside, DOT said.

Repair of the highway farther east at milepost 32 near Jim Creek is expected to begin later this month, with reopening in late spring after eight weeks of work.

Both slides were due to heavy rainfall in mid-November which caused flooding and closed parts of U.S. Highway 101 and state highways 112, 113 and 110 in multiple locations.

The Clallam Bay slide brought down soil and debris of a hillside at milepost 15 to cover about 325 feet of the highway. The slide measured about 275 feet wide and blocked access to Neah Bay, home of the Makah.

The slide also broke a water main and, after trucking potable water in, Clallam County Public Utility District crews created a bypass to ensure water service in Clallam Bay.

On Nov. 28, more debris extended the slide another 200 feet across the roadway.

Scarsella Brothers, DOT’s emergency contractor, was awarded a $1.3 million contract to clear debris and reopen the roadway. The same company has been given a $1.1 million contract to fix the slide near Jim Creek.

While DOT crews were able to reopen many sites, the Clallam Bay slide required more extensive design and hydraulic work, according to officials.

Work at milepost 15.8 included rebuilding the highway, stabilizing the adjacent slope, drainage repair with a new culvert, erosion control and seeding the hillside.

“It was more of a long-term repair,” Werner said.

“We’re hopeful that this is going to last.”

Final guardrail installation and slope seeding is planned for next week. Flaggers will alternate travelers during work activities.

“I am incredibly proud of the professional work completed by our team and relationships we developed throughout this emergency contract,” said Project Engineer Dan McKernan.

“The community rallied around our crews, and I want to thank the property owners of Eagle Crest Way for working with us during the closure.”

DOT and Scarsella Brothers also worked with local public utility crews to complete necessary water main repairs during the closure period, DOT said.

More information can be found on DOT’s website at www.wsdot.wa.gov, while earlier stories can be found on the Peninsula Daily News website at peninsuladailynews.com.

________

Executive Editor Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3530 or at lleach@peninsuladailynews.com.

Slide damage along state Highway 112 is under repair, with some portions now reopened while work continues in others. (State Department of Transportation)

Slide damage along state Highway 112 is under repair, with some portions now reopened while work continues in others. (State Department of Transportation)

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