"margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica;">MEGLER -

State Route 401 between the Astoria-Megler Bridge and Naselle could

be closed for more than a week because of a major slide a half-mile

from the Astoria-Megler Bridge, according to Washington Department

of Transportation Project Engineer Chris Tams. And a DOT press

release Friday said the closure might last for up to a month.

"margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica;">Numerous

springs at the top of the hill, plus torrential rains last month

are being cited as the cause of the slide.

"margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica;">WSDOT

Maintenance Supervisor Herb Messick said the hillside started to

slide Saturday at about 8:30 p.m. 

"margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica;">“We went

to take a look and watched it for a couple of hours but it wasn't

stopping,” Messick said. “At about 9, I said 'Close it.' Within a

half hour it all came down.” Messick said about 500 cubic yards of

debris, including trees, blocked both lanes of the highway.

"margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica;">DOT

crews cleaned up the debris on Sunday and re-opened the road at

about 3:30 p.m. but rocks and dirt kept falling onto the road

Sunday night, Messick said. 

"margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica;">“The

night shift cleaned up the road and it was good Tuesday but

Wednesday morning there was another little slide west of the main

one,” he said. “That's when we decided something was going on and

called in the geologists.”

"margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica;">Friday

morning, Tams said DOT has an emergency contract with Tapani

Underground of Battle Ground to try to stabilize the hillside. 

"margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica;">“They

were out there at 7 Friday morning and will be working seven days a

week until it's complete,” he said. “We're hoping it will be done

by Monday, Feb. 21. If they can get it stable, we'll open the

highway before then.”

"margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica;">  Crews

will excavate between 12,000 and 15,000 cubic yards of loose soil,

rocks and vegetation and will also place erosion-control fabric and

plant grass seed to help prevent future erosion.

"margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica;">Drivers

should use U.S. Highway 101 and SR 4 to detour around the

closure.

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