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State closes tunnels on John Wayne Trail

Post by Jeff Mayor / The News Tribune on Jan. 30, 2009 at 9:50 am with No Comments »
January 30, 2009 9:50 am

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission late Thursday announced it was closing tunnels 46 through 50 on the Iron Horse State Park-John Wayne Pioneer Trail. There is no timetable for making repairs to allow the tunnels to reopen.

Here is the rest of the news release:

Washington State Parks hired the engineering firm, Kleinfelder, Inc., to conduct a safety review of falling debris hazards in the tunnels. The firm determined that tunnels 46 through 50 all contain segments that have moderate, high or very high hazard ratings. For the safety of recreational users, the Commission has decided to close these tunnels until further notice. There is no estimated reopening date, although the agency is exploring options for repair.

The closed tunnels run from Snoqualmie Pass to Kittitas, and include Boylston Tunnel No. 46, east of Kittitas; Picnic Area Tunnel No. 47, west of Thorpe; Easton Tunnel No. 48; Whittier Tunnel No. 49, west of Easton; and Snoqualmie Pass Tunnel No. 50.

The report from Kleinfelder contains options for short-term action steps to reduce areas with high or very high hazard ratings to a moderate rating. The report also estimates costs to bring all tunnels to a low hazard rating at $9 million. Funds for repairs have been included in agency budget requests for the 2009-2011 biennium.

Iron Horse State Park is a 1,612-acre park that was once part of the path of the Chicago-Milwaukee-St. Paul-Pacific Railroad. More than 100 miles of trail extends from Cedar Falls to the Columbia River. High trestles provide spectacular views of the valley below.

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