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WSDOT Protects SR 530 from Collapsing into River near Darrington

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Date:  Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Contact: Dustin Terpening, WSDOT Communications, 360-757-5997 (Burlington)
Janice Marlega, WSDOT Engineer, 360-757-5856

DARRINGTON – WSDOT has hired contractor Wilder Construction Inc. of Bellingham to prevent State Route 530 from collapsing into the Sauk River north of Darrington. The river is so close to the highway that engineers believe the highway will collapse this fall if nothing is done to protect the highway.

WSDOT will armor the riverbank with more than 100 evergreen trees and 15,000 tons of boulders.

The trees and boulders will be clumped together into 12 piles that project from the riverbank towards the river, strategically spaced along a quarter-mile stretch of the highway, and buried 15 to 20 feet in the riverbank.

The log and rock piles will be exposed when the river rises and erodes the remaining riverbank. The log and rock piles will slow and buffer the force of the river from the highway.

“This design will help shield the highway from the river and minimize scour of the riverbank over the long term,” said WSDOT engineer Sam Chi. “Ultimately, this should save the road.”

Work is expected to start before the end of the month and finish in early November. The goal is to finish before the fall rains come and the river rises.

“The river is as close as 30 feet to the road in places,” said Chi. “Last year, the river ate more than 30 feet of the riverbank, moving even closer to the road. It’s imperative we do this work now.”

Crews will close one lane during most of the project. Flaggers will alternate traffic through the work zone. More than 1,000 drivers use this section of highway every day.

Wilder Construction was hired for their low bid of $1.9 million, which came in nearly 22 percent under our engineers’ estimate of $2.4 million.

For more project details, visit the project Web page at  

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