ASHFORD, Wash. – Both lanes of SR-706 east of Ashford have reopened to all travelers after large mudslides closed the highway Thursday, Feb. 6.
The road reopened at 6:15 a.m. Monday, Feb. 24.
Favorable weather allowed WSDOT's emergency contractor to repair and reopen the highway well ahead of the initial mid-March timetable.
There's still work to be done, so traffic will be alternating one-way throughout the day.
“We appreciate the hard work by our employees, our contractor and partner agencies in getting this work completed ahead of schedule,” said WSDOT Regional Administrator John Wynands. “While this is a very important road for users of Mount Rainier National Park, it’s also a lifeline for business operators and those who live in this community.”
WSDOT closed the highway when two mudslides that were each 400 feet long covered the highway. Crews worked to clear a path for emergency responders prior to the contractor arriving on scene. WSDOT documented the recovery process in a blog.
Throughout the closure, several agencies worked together to maintain access for people who live in the slide area. WSDOT worked closely with Pierce County Emergency Management, Eatonville School District, the U.S. Forest Service and Mount Rainier National Park in coordinating caravans for residents in and out of the slide area.
“We are thankful for the hard work of our staff and thank our colleagues at WSDOT, the Forest Service, and Pierce County for their efforts to reestablish access to the park,” said Mount Rainier National Park Deputy Superintendent Tracy Swartout. “We look forward to welcoming visitors back to Mount Rainier!”