WENATCHEE– Snow might still be on the roads, but spring is in the air – and that means road construction season is just around the corner. Construction on the first of 19 projects scattered throughout the north central portion of the state is under way.
Contractor crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) begin scaling loose rock on Monday, to stabilize a rocky slope above SR 150 three mi. E. of Manson. Drivers can expect full road closures six days per week from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Crews will open the road to traffic for a half-hour at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m., but drivers should expect significant delays and plan alternate routes.
Drivers who regularly use the Knapps Hill Tunnel on US 97A near Entiat will need to prepare for a 15-day full road closure and a possible 20-minute addition to their commute beginning Tuesday, March 15. At 6 a.m., the tunnel will be closed so crews can install a drainage system designed to prevent chronic icing at the north entrance. During the closure, drivers will use SR 971 or US 97 to detour around construction. The road will reopen at 6 a.m. Wednesday, March 30.
Despite the challenges of inclement weather and short days, the projects were scheduled to make sure the crews and equipment are off the road and out of the way of traffic before the summer tourist season begins.
Later this summer, work will begin on 2011's biggest local project, a $16.2 million one that will improve traffic on the east end of the Senator George Sellar Bridge. Crews will build a bypass behind Fred Meyer and Top Food to SR 28 to relieve a chronic bottleneck at Grant Road.
As the weather warms and more projects get under way, drivers can find frequently updated information on the North Central region construction update website: www.wsdot.wa.gov/Regions/NorthCentral/construction or by calling 5-1-1 from any phone. You may also sign up to get direct e-mail updates at www.wsdot.wa.gov/emailupdates.
You can find a complete list of this year's projects in the north central region at www.wsdot.wa.gov/Regions/NorthCentral/projects/.