DOT says SR 530 may not open until fall

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by KING5 and Associated Press

NWCN.com

Posted on April 14, 2014 at 5:40 PM

Updated Monday, Apr 14 at 10:53 PM

DARRINGTON, Wash. -- The Department of Transportation says SR 530 may not be open until the fall.

About a mile of the highway is covered by debris from the March 22 slide, blocking the main route between Darrington and Interstate 5.

The DOT says 100,000 cubic yards of material has to be removed before SR 530 can reopen. That would take one and three months.

The DOT said they are considering scheduled use of an access road and that would start as soon as possible. It would be single land and piloted and would include size restrictions.

That plan is dependent on the search effort and legal ability to use the road.

The DOT said the most important thing is recovery of victims.

Travis Phelps, with the Washington State Department of Transportation, said the mud and debris make it challenging for a bypass or any sort of permanent solution.  There are logging roads, and a City Light access road, but Phelps cautions that "it's tough to make one of those logging roads a permanent 530."

Marianne Sargent lives in Darrington, and says her 17-mile, one-way commute is now 90 miles.  She's skipped trips to adjust to the changes, but says she worries about the impact on the timber industry if the closure last months, or longer.

Officials held a community meeting in Darrington Monday to discuss the highway. Similar meetings are planned Tuesday at the Oso Community Chapel and Wednesday at the Stillaguamish Senior Center in Arlington.

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