Road through Gorst re-opens

State Route 166 was re-opened to traffic on Friday after the latest round of repairs to the mudslide-prone cliffs was completed.

According to the Washington State Department of Transportation, the work by contractor Scarsella Brothers consisted of removing trees and other unstable material from a section of hillside near Gorst where a mudslide occurred earlier this month.

After crews scraped off the area, Port Orchard Maintenance Supervisor Joyce Komac said they would be adding rocks — about 3,500 tons worth — to stabilize it.

Public Information Officer Debbie Schow said on Monday that the cost of the latest repairs was $225,000.

SR-166 was closed for almost two full weeks following a mudslide on Jan. 7 that dumped tons of mud and other debris onto the roadway shortly before 1 a.m.

Since the highway serves as one of two main routes for drivers to travel from Port Orchard to Bremerton and the rest of Kitsap County, residents reported increased traffic and backups on surrounding roads during the closure.

Although earlier this month WSDOT officials reported that this month’s work would constitute a “quick fix” and larger, more permanent, repairs would be undertaken later on, Schow said the latest project is considered a “permanent repair.”

However, while more repairs are not currently in the works for the slide area, she said that doesn’t mean future acts of nature wonít necessitate more work.

“We have had an extraordinary amount of rain recently,” she said.

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 about a mile away from the latest 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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