WHITE PASS — Crews plan to reopen U.S. Highway 12 today, but traffic will be restricted to one lane along a quarter-mile stretch of roadway where heavy erosion forced closure of the highway earlier this week.
An exact time of today’s reopening had not been determined by late Thursday.
Heavy rains are blamed for eroding a 500-foot section of roadway about 3 miles east of the White Pass summit. Crews will be moving forward with plans to restore a retaining wall on the steep slope on the south side of the road where the erosion occurred.
It isn’t clear how long it will take to complete enough work to allow traffic to flow unimpeded in both directions, but officials have said the work could last up to a month or more.
Until that’s done, drivers can expect minor delays where a signal light will direct alternating, single-lane traffic through a quarter-mile area of the washout, according to the state Department of Transportation.
The highway will remain closed to oversized vehicles, according to a news release issued by the department.
Gov. Jay Inslee was expected to sign a proclamation Thursday to help the Transportation Department restore the damaged section of highway, according to the news release.
That emergency proclamation allows state and local agencies to pursue federal emergency relief funds for the work.
Meanwhile, the Transportation Department and the emergency contractor, DBM Inc. of Federal Way, are developing a temporary fix to allow both lanes to reopen before winter.
When the erosion was discovered Tuesday, transportation officials closed a roughly 50-mile stretch of Highway 12 from its junction with State Route 410 west to the junction with State Route 123.