Mudslide closes SR-166 again

A portion of State Route 166 will be closed “indefinitely” following a mudslide that dumped tons of mud and at least one tree onto the road early Saturday, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation.

Although Joyce Komac, the agency’s Port Orchard maintenance supervisor, said all of the debris has now been removed from the roadway, she said predictions of more heavy rains for the area have inspectors concerned about the hillside’s stability.

“Right now we’re concerned about the areas that haven’t fallen,” Komac said, explaining that while there’s little more than mud that can fall now from the latest slide section, which was at milepost .48, there are other unstable areas up above to worry about. “There are some cracks up above that are a big concern, (because) they are looking like they might possibly fall.”

Komac said she could give no official estimation as to when the roadway would be reopened, but guessed it will be closed for at least a couple of weeks.

“We are in a holding pattern right now,” she said, explaining that WSDOT “geotechs” were evaluating the hillside, and have yet to determine how extensive of a repair the area will need.

On a positive note, Komac said she was “very happy” to discover that the most recent slide did not occur in the section of Ross Point buttressed by WSDOT crews in late 2004.

Komac said the latest slide was in a section where there “(hasn’t) been a slide in quite a while,” and that the repaired section — about a mile away at milepost 1.6 — still “looked great.”

Until further notice, the roadway is closed and a detour is in place. Traffic is being diverted up Port Orchard Blvd to Tremont Street, which then connects drivers to State Route 16.

During a five-week-long closure of the same stretch between July and August of 2004, approximately 180,000 cubic yards of material was removed from Ross Point in $3.2-million fix.

Two small slides occurred in the section after the repairs, one a couple months later in October, and one the following January.

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