Detour route opens early after work backs up State Rooute 16 last weekend.

After collecting back-ups close to a mile long both Saturday and Sunday, the construction work at the Burley-Olalla interchange along State-Route 16 has opened a temporary detour for westbound traffic, the Washington State Department of Transportation reported.

Beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday, SR-16 near the intersection of Burley-Olalla road was reduced to one lane to allow crews to complete the detour route.

By noon Saturday, WSDOT reported that traffic was backed-up for about a mile. The following day, the back-up was reported to be a little less, but still close to a mile long.

However, crews did complete the work a day earlier than expected, opening the detour lanes at around 10:30 p.m. instead of midday Monday.

“The contractor worked very efficiently with the weather we had and opened the roadway 14 hours ahead of schedule,” said Brenden Clarke, WSDOT project engineer. “We would like to thank drivers for their patience and for driving safely through the work zone this last weekend.”

Now that the westbound detour is paved, traffic has been shifted there with a reduced speed limit of 40 mph. That reduction will be in effect until the new bridges over the highway are completed.

Next month, crews will repeat the process to pave the detour for eastbound traffic. That work is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Dec. 12, and last until through 6 a.m. Dec. 15.

This $24.3 million safety project eliminates the last at-grade intersection on SR-16 where traffic crosses the median.

Contractor Ceccanti, Inc. began construction in July, and when completed in fall 2010, two new bridges will carry highway traffic over Burley-Olalla Road.

For more information about the project, visit

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