A five-mile stretch of state Route 7 in Eatonville reopens Wednesday after a landslide closed the main route to Mount Rainier National Park six months ago.
State Department of Transportation officials warn that the road could close again because they made modifications rather than fix the hillside due to the cost.
“I take the safety of the traveling public very seriously. If we see any reason for concern, we will shut the road down again,” Regional Administrator Kevin Dayton said.
In April, SR 7 from Alder to La Grande closed after a hillside above the highway was deemed unsafe. Permanent repairs were planned but cost estimates ran higher than WSDOT had predicted so they instead decided to make temporary repairs.
The project will go out for bid again next spring.
Geotechnical engineers will continue to monitor the hillside for potential slides. Weighted shipping containers have been placed along the highway between the road and the jersey barrier to catch any debris that may fall.
Other restrictions on that section of SR 7 include a reduced speed limit of 20 mph and 9-foot lanes in each direction. Truck traffic is advised to continue using the detour routes on state Route 161 and Alder Cut-off Road.
WSDOT said about 1,600 drivers use that stretch of highway daily.