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Crews reopen 2 lanes of westbound SR 18

Crews were busy clearing debris from two westbound lanes on Highway 18. WSDOT officially reopened the lanes early Tuesday, in time for the morning commute. - Courtesy/WSDOT
Crews were busy clearing debris from two westbound lanes on Highway 18. WSDOT officially reopened the lanes early Tuesday, in time for the morning commute.
— image credit: Courtesy/WSDOT

WSDOT reopened two lanes of westbound State Route 18 near Auburn at 3:23 a.m. Tuesday. Two landslides closed the westbound lanes last Thursday evening.

WSDOT contractor crews worked through the weekend to:

• Stabilize the steep hillside above the roadway by removing trees and loose debris

• Remove debris from the roadway

• Install drainage systems to handle stormwater run-off from the hillside

• Build a temporary wall in the westbound truck climbing lane designed to catch any remaining small debris that may fall.

• Construct a barrier in front of the wall

• Restripe the roadway

“Our crews took advantage of every dry bit of weather this weekend.” said WSDOT Regional Administrator Lorena Eng. “The temporary fix allowed us to reopen one lane of westbound SR 18, which is a critical route for freight and commuters. WSDOT engineers will now focus their attention on designing a permanent fix for the hillside.”

For photos of the slide visit the WSDOT Flickr site at: www.flickr.com/photos/wsdot/4274285385/.

Keeping traffic moving

SR 18 is a major route for commuters and freight haulers. While two lanes of westbound SR 18 are open, drivers should continue to expect heavier traffic on nearby local roads as well as SR 167, SR 516 and I-405. WSDOT traffic engineers have taken several steps to keep traffic moving in the area. They include:

• Retimed signals in the area to keep traffic moving on alternate routes

• Extra communications staff to keep drivers up to date

• Portable message signs to keep drivers informed

• Drivers should plan extra time if they need to travel in the area during the next few days and use the WSDOT traffic page for updated traffic information. www.wsdot.wa.gov/traffic/seattle/

SR 18 slide

The Washington State Patrol notified WSDOT of the first slide at 3:47 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 14. Because the slide area was nearly 50 feet above the road, maintenance crews closed the right lane and right shoulder of westbound SR 18 as a precaution at 4:30 a.m.

A larger slide occurred at 10:40 p.m. Thursday and brought down mud, rocks and debris across all westbound lanes. The slide pushed debris up against the jersey barrier separating the west- and eastbound lanes.

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