Highway construction crews from KRCI in Wenatchee resumed repair work this week on damaged sections of Highway 20 over Loup Loup Pass under a new $2.2 million contract approved by the Federal Highway Administration.
The initial 30-working-day contract ended May 18, and work under the new contract began on Monday (May 22). KRCI was selected for the first emergency contract, and was the successful bidder on the second contract, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT).
Nine sections of road are damaged by slides and erosion between mileposts 207 and 223. Because of the extensive damage, no reopening date for the highway has been set. WSDOT officials said last week that the highway over Loup Loup is likely to remain closed to traffic through June, and possibly later.
Water is still draining into some sites, said Jeff Adamson, WSDOT spokesman. “Cleaning up is the priority so the rebuilding can begin. It’s going to require literally thousands of truckloads of large rocks to create new roadbeds.”
At milepost 211.85, about five miles east of Upper Beaver Creek Road, the contractor continued excavating saturated mud and debris from the site, said Adamson.
Some will be reusable, so KRCI is stockpiling the suitable material at the Summit Sno-Park. The short-term target was to have the excavation portion of work at this location completed this week, Adamson said.
At milepost 221.65, on the east side of the summit, the contractor completed drainage pipe installation and built up the roadway, making the site passable for construction vehicles, though it is not paved yet.
At another damage site at milepost 221.08, a WSDOT geotechnology crew planned to complete drilling soil samples this week to determine how to stabilize a landslide and rebuild the roadbed there, Adamson said.
Heavy rain last week brought down debris that caused Summit Creek to be diverted toward the highway at that location, where it undermined the westbound lane.
“We had the contractor install riprap…to redirect the runoff away from the roadway and stop the erosion. This work was successful but not until it had eroded five to six feet into the westbound lane. This site remained stable last week but the westbound lane will need to be rebuilt before traffic can use it,” Adamson said.
The 16-mile stretch of Highway 20 has been closed since early April, when heavy rains caused flooding and erosion, especially in areas where wildfires destroyed vegetation above the highway. The second road repair contract extends 50 working days — through mid-July.