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Hurricane Ridge Road will reopen at 2 p.m.

Post by Craig Hill / The News Tribune on Aug. 19, 2009 at 1:33 pm with No Comments »
August 19, 2009 1:33 pm

Hurricane Ridge Road will reopen today at 2 p.m. according to statement released moments ago by Olympic National Park.


Click below to read the statement.



From Olympic National Park:



The 17-mile Hurricane Ridge Road will reopen today for daylight use

only, as long as conditions remain safe. Visitors are urged to use

extra caution, and to be prepared for flaggers and a short section of

unpaved roadway near the rockfall site.


The road will open at 2:00 p.m. today and close at 9:00 p.m. this

evening. The gate at Heart o’the Hills entrance station, five miles

above the Olympic National Park Visitor Center, will be locked

overnight, beginning at 9:00 p.m.


Crews will closely monitor the rockfall area and if conditions continue

to allow, the road will open daily at 8:00 a.m. and close at 9:00 p.m.

Flaggers and a rockfall monitor will be stationed near the rockslide and

will control traffic through the area.


"Our crews have made significant improvements to the berm, and have

shifted the travel lanes to allow safe passage through the area," said

Sue McGill, Olympic National Park Deputy Superintendent. "The rockfall

site is still active, however and we will continue to closely monitor

the area; further closures may be necessary."


"Visitor and employee safety remain our highest priority however, and we

will keep the road open as long as it is safe to do so," emphasized

McGill.


The existing rock berm at the base of at the rock fall chute was

enlarged and improved by the park’s road crew and is now 10 feet high.

Concrete barriers have been placed at the base of the berm. In

addition, the travel lanes have been slightly shifted onto an adjacent

pullout; visitors should use caution on this area of the road, as these

temporary travel lanes are unpaved.


Park staff and a Federal Highway Administration engineering geologist

visited the site again this morning and observed several rockfalls. The

newly improved berm prevented any rocks from reaching the road.


Members of the park maintenance staff flew over the site yesterday and

were able to better observe the summit and upper slope of the rockfall

chute. Based on their observations, the short-term improvements made

today will allow the road to open on a conditional basis, while

additional monitoring and long term plans can be completed.


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. A slow but

continuous stream of falling rocks and gravel began on Saturday, August

15 and continued the following day, when the road was closed to all

traffic. Rocks have continued to fall since then, though at a reduced

rate.


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