Budget Information

SR 503 - 3 Miles West of SR 503 Spur - Slope Stabilization


January 2018

Why is WSDOT performing emergency slope stabilization work on the hillside adjacent to SR 503 near Speelyai Recreation Road?
Following a winter of record rainfall, on Monday, March 13, a portion of the hillside in east Cowlitz County, slid carrying trees, rocks and debris on to the highway.

Due to debris blocking both directions of the roadway and unstable rock above, WSDOT determined the highway was unsafe for travel and closed the road.

Since then, crews have worked in a top down approach to stabilize an estimated 20 million pound rock slab that separated from the hillside.

On Friday, March 31, crews began work to access the slope, remove the large rockface and stabilize the slope. Emergency contractor crews began blasting work to clear and stabilize the massive rock slab above the highway on Thursday, April 13.

Long-term stabilization work including rock anchoring and bolting began May 8 and will continue into the fall.

What can travelers expect? 
Beginning Monday, Aug. 21, travelers should plan for delays of up to 20 minutes while the Washington State Department of Transportation’s contractor Rock Supremacy LLC works on the hillside above the roadway near Speelyai Bay Road. Flaggers will move traffic through the work zone during work hours, Mondays through Saturdays, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. for safety during rock scaling and anchoring work.

Outside of work hours traffic will continue to alternate through one lane of highway until the project is complete later this year.

The speed limit through the area is reduced to 25 mph.
Check current travel conditions.

Drivers using Lewis River (Yale) Bridge as an alternate route, please note weight restrictions apply. Legal axle weights only. 

The End Result
This project reduces the potential for falling rocks and trees creating a hazard on the roadway.

Project Benefits
This project will stabilize the slope alongside SR 503, remove rocks and debris from the hillside, the highway and shoulder, reconnecting both directions of SR 503, near Cougar.

This project will reduce the possibility of emergency closures and traffic delays due to rock slides.

What is the project timeline?


Financial Data for PIN 450317E
Funding Source Amount ($ in thousands)
2003 Gas Tax (Nickel Funding) $0
2005 Gas Tax (TPA) $0
Pre-Existing Funds (PEF) $3,847
CWA $0
Total $3,847


How can I get more information?

Lori Figone, WSDOT Area Engineer

Tamara Greenwell, WSDOT communications

Trooper Will Finn, WSP Public Information Officer

Commercial haulers using Forest Service roads as an alternate should contact:: 
Aldo Aguilar, 360-891-5113 for road use permits and Shea Becker, 360-891-5166 for bridge permits.