Emergency repairs are now underway on a three-mile section of U.S. Highway 2 approximately 19 miles east of Waterville.

The Washington State Department of Transportation (DOT) have announced they have retained Hurst Construction, LLC of East Wenatchee to handle the project, which began Thursday morning (July 20).

DOT spokesperson Lauren Loebsack says because the work has been classified as an emergency repair, the contractor will be on a tight timeline.

"The goal is to get the road open as soon as possible, so they (Hurst) have thirty days to complete the repairs and right now, it's looking like it will take the full thirty days to finish. There's some significant slope repair and build that needs to be done, as well as paving, striping, and the installation of guardrail."

The highway sustained substantial damage due to a strong thunderstorm that dumped heavy rain over the area and triggered a mudslide on July 10.

Despite the incident's impact on the roadway, Loebsack says the DOT has no concerns that the terrain surrounding it is unstable.

"This was an unusual weather event that caused the waterflow which washed out a section of the roadway. It does not appear that there are structural issues through that area, it was just a very significant amount of rainfall that caused heavy waterflow through that area."

Until the work is finished, a 24-mile stretch of the highway will remain closed from the junction of State Route 172 (SR-172) at Farmer to the junction of State Route 17 (SR-17) just west of Coulee City.

Detours will continue to direct eastbound travelers onto SR-172 through Mansfield and westbound travelers south on SR-17 through Soap Lake to State Route 28.

Loebsack says destinations within the closure zone, like Jameson Lake, can still be legally accessed using local arteries such as Moses Coulee and Whitehall Roads.

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