Highway connection: Building around the landslide

Highway connection: Building around the landslide
NILE VALLEY, Wash. -- There's a place here in Yakima County where the people actually saw the weight of the world crash down on them.

It was almost 2 and a half years ago when tons of rock and dirt came sliding through part of the Nile Valley. A quarter-mile stretch of highway remains buried to this day.
KIMA went back to the spot to check what changes are on the way.

Sounds of heavy equipment drown out the serene flow of the Naches River. Crews here pile rocks high and flat to keep the embankment of State Route 410 from eroding when the water rises. Not far you can still see the 50 feet of dirt that covers it.

"It isn't the same," said Valerie Royster, manager of The Wood Shed Restaurant. "You know, we, it just hasn't been the same for anybody."

Valerie Royster and her family run The Wood Shed Restaurant that stands right where traffic detours 1,700 cars a day. Things haven't been right at the landmark that's been here for 70 years.

"It's very quiet," Royster said.

That is changing. The Department of Transportation says the real heavy lifting begins in June.

"Was there any way to get to this sooner?

"I don't think so," answered Department of Transportation Field Engineer Corie Henke.

A new stretch of 410 will take shape with no more southern detour. It will add a mile of new pavement that reconnects the highway around the damage. For example, 410 will start to veer and run right through a spot where a vacant church and some trees are now.

How can we be sure something like this won't happen again?

"The Geo-Tech did a technical report on this and they figure, factor safety into this and they've made the decision. They've directed us on where to put this, but I don't think anybody can say specifically or for sure that it won't happen again," Henke answered.

That doesn't enter the thinking back at The Wood Shed. Thoughts here are on the fall reopening.

"We're gonna have a party in here," Royster said.

Land is moving again around State Route 410. Only this time it's by choice.

The total cost of the project is estimated at $9.3 million. DOT will go over the changes with the public during a community meeting a week from tomorrow. That's at the Nile Valley Community Church in Naches. It runs from 6 to 7:30.