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Hurricane Ridge Road closed through at least noon today

Post by Jeff Mayor / The News Tribune on Aug. 19, 2009 at 8:00 am |
August 19, 2009 8:00 am

Hurricane Ridge Road remains closed through at least noon today as the park continues dealing with a slow rockfall onto the road.

"The amount of rocks falling into the road decreased today, and our crew has begun improvements to the existing rock berm at the base of the rockfall chute," said Sue McGill, Olympic National Park deputy superintendent, said Tuesday in a news release. "Staff will continue to closely monitor the situation and hope to complete improvements to the berm early (today). If all goes as planned, we hope to be able to open the road sometime (this) afternoon."

The rockfall originates on a steep slope high above the road and follows a winter avalanche chute about nine miles south of Port Angeles and four miles above the Heart o’the Hills entrance station, said the park news release.

The Hurricane Ridge Road was closed on Sunday after rangers observed a continuous and steady stream of falling rocks and gravel on both Saturday and Sunday. Rocks have continued to fall since then.

Members of the park maintenance staff flew over the site Tuesday and were able to better observe the summit and upper slope of the rockfall chute. A Federal Highway Administration engineering geologist also visited the site Tuesday. Based on their observations, short-term improvements will be made to the existing rock barrier along the roadway, while long term plans can be made.

Click here for updates on the road’s status or call the Olympic National Park Visitor Center at 360-565-3130 or the recorded Road and Weather Hotline at 360-565-3131.

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