A landslide Monday afternoon has closed Hurricane Ridge Road indefinitely, Olympic National Park officials reported Tuesday afternoon.
The landslide destroyed both travel lanes along a 100-foot long section of road just below the Heart O’ the Hills entrance station, about five miles south of Port Angeles.
Park officials said the slide area is just beyond the Lake Dawn Road intersection. Access to Lake Dawn is unaffected.
The road closure applies to all entry, including bicyclists, pedestrians, equestrians and drivers. The slide area is still active, and soil is continuing to move down slope, undercutting the remaining narrow strip of asphalt, park officials said.
“We recognize how important access is to this area and are working as quickly as possible to develop a plan for rebuilding the lost section of road,” said Olympic National Park Superintendent Karen Gustin. “With that in mind, engineers from the Federal Highways Administration will be here tomorrow (Wednesday) to assist. In the meantime, safety concerns dictate that all public access beyond the closure is curtailed. We are committed to restoring access to Hurricane Ridge as soon as it is safely possible.”
Park staff first saw signs of damage to the road late on Saturday afternoon, when members of the road crew noticed cracks and slight slumping in the road’s downhill lane just north of Heart O’ the Hills. A safety inspection early on Sunday confirmed the initial reports and travel was reduced to one lane only, using the uphill lane of the road.
Immediate repair action was taken as road crewmembers filled the cracks and spread gravel to alleviate the uneven road surface.
The road was closed on Monday due to high winds and whiteout conditions at Hurricane Ridge. Meanwhile, road crew members cut and removed a number of small trees on the slope beneath the road in an effort to protect and preserve the road, and had hoped to open the road later in the day.
Less than an hour later, however, the slope failed and slid downhill, taking most of the road with it.
The soils that make up the slope are completely saturated from recent heavy rains.
A timeline for reopening the road has not yet been developed, although early estimates suggest that repairs may take at least a month to six weeks to complete.
Frequent updates and additional information will be released as soon as it becomes available, park officials said.
For information about alternative destinations within Olympic National Park, view the park’s website at www.nps.gov/olym or call the Olympic National Park Visitor Center at 565-3130. A road and weather hotline is updated throughout the day with changes and can be reached by calling 565-3131.
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