CATHLAMET - Drivers should plan ahead to avoid long delays on State Route 4 as crews begin work to improve safety with a pre-planned rockfall prevention project four miles east of Cathlamet.

Contractor crews will fully close SR 4 multiple times each day starting Monday, May 16, while they complete weather dependent work to stabilize the hillside above the highway.

SR 4 will be closed for 45-minute durations between 8:15 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Crews will open the highway for 15 minutes at the top of every hour to allow drivers safe passage through the work zone. The closures are expected to continue through early June.

Crews will help improve safety on this stretch of SR 4 by removing loose rock, unstable soil, trees and other debris from the slope above the highway. After scaling work is complete, crews will utilize intermittent lane closures to finalize work activities in the project area.

The $380,000 project is funded through state highway improvement dollars and is expected to be complete in June.

In the last decade, WSDOT has delivered seven planned rockfall mitigation projects on SR 4 between Longview and Cathlamet. WSDOT has also delivered several unplanned projects over the years, including the current emergency landslide repair work near Stella (milepost 50).

"Rockfall projects are a reality of maintaining a scenic route like SR 4," said WSDOT Project Engineer Denys Tak. "We can't guarantee that every slope on this section of highway will be slide-free, but we are continuing to proactively address the slopes we have identified as priorities"

With the propensity for rockslides in the area, this 21-mile stretch of SR 4 between Longview and Cathlamet consistently ranks high on WSDOT's priority list for stabilization projects.

WSDOT prioritizes unstable slopes and rockfall projects on a statewide basis and has dedicated $300 million to evaluate, prioritize and mitigate slope issues through the Unstable Slope Management System (USMS).

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