Return of two-way traffic will simplify travel, commutes
Emergency repairs on Highway 20 east of Loup Loup summit should be completed next week, enabling the road to open to two-way traffic, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT).
The agency did not set a specific date before press time for reopening both lanes. Lauren Loebsack, communications manager for the WSDOT’s North Central region, indicated in an email sent June 6 the work should be completed by June 20.
As repairs continue, one lane of Highway 20 remains open. Two-way traffic through the single lane is controlled by a traffic signal or flaggers.
The highway was closed completely at the work site, at milepost 222.4, from May 28 to June 4 so the contractor could excavate the soil under the roadway. During the full closure, drivers traveling between the Methow Valley and Okanogan/Omak took a 70-mile detour through Pateros and Brewster.
Highway 20 was undermined on May 1 by a mudslide caused by a failed culvert. The fill material used to repair the bank under the roadway included porous rock that will allow groundwater to flow freely into Loup Loup Creek.
Hurst Construction of East Wenatchee was hired under a $1.3 million emergency contract for the first 30 days of work. The contractor will remain on the job until it is finished, Loebsack said.
The emergency repair has delayed the planned reconstruction of Canyon Street in Twisp because the town had hired Hurst for the job. The $781,000 Canyon Street project includes water-line replacement, sewer repairs and a new sidewalk. The project may start in early July, Twisp Public Works Director Andrew Denham said, and is expected to take 40 days to complete.