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Emergency culvert replacement moves forward on SR 505 in Winlock

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Date:  Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Contact: Denys Tak, WSDOT project engineer, (800) 545-1393 (toll-free)
Heidi Sause, WSDOT communications, 360-600-7824 (Vancouver)

Highway expected to reopen by the end of the month

WINLOCK – A brand-new box culvert will replace the crumbling, century-old concrete pipe that opened a sinkhole in the middle of State Route 505 two weeks ago.

Emergency repair work began Friday, April 6, when emergency contractor Tapani Underground Inc., stabilized the 15-foot-deep sinkhole and began pumping water from the overflowing culvert. An inspection revealed that the section of concrete pipe beneath the highway was cracked and crumbling.

“We’re very fortunate because most of the culvert seems to be in good condition,” said Washington State Department of Transportation Project Engineer Denys Tak. “But the stretch of pipe that runs under the highway is about 100 years old, and the decades have taken their toll. The pipe itself is cracked and some of the dirt and rock surrounding it has eroded away.”

Within the next two weeks, crews will remove a 24-foot section of culvert and install a precast concrete box culvert beneath SR 505. A box culvert is the ideal solution for this repair because it’s strong enough to hold the weight of traffic, large enough to carry high volumes of water and relatively easy to install.

“It will take up to two weeks to fabricate the culvert,” Tak said. “Once it’s made, we’ll be able to get it in place pretty quickly and get the highway reopened.”

WSDOT plans to replace the damaged culvert, fill in the sinkhole and repave the highway within the next three weeks. Repairs will be paid for using state highway maintenance and preservation funds, and are estimated at $250,000.

Drivers can continue using local roads to detour around the closure. Low-clearance vehicles can follow a signed detour north on North Military Road, west on West Avery Road and south on Highway 603 to Winlock. This section of SR 505 is used by an average of 3,300 vehicles each day.

Visit the WSDOT Flickr site for photos of the repair work.

Hyperlinks within the news release:
• Denys Tak email  
• Heidi Sause email   
• Box culvert photo  
• Flickr  


WSDOT keeps people, businesses and the economy moving by operating and improving the state's transportation systems. To learn more about what we're doing, go to for pictures, videos, news and blogs. Real time traffic information is available at or by dialing 511.

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