Local access road opens through Oso mudslide

Local access road opens through Oso mudslide
A flagger waits at the entrance to the newly opened access road.
OSO, Wash. - A local access road has opened through the Oso mudslide, connecting the stretch of Highway 530 blocked by the March 22 landslide.

A dispatcher for the Snohomish County sheriff's office, Hattie Schweitzer at the SNOPAC 911 center, says the road opened early Tuesday, just after midnight. It's for local traffic only, and a pilot car leads the way every half hour in alternating directions. The speed limit is 10 mph.

The one-lane road was put through last month for emergency vehicles and recovery workers. Now that the active search for victims is over, the road is open to the public.

The county and state Transportation Department are working to clear Highway 530 but they say it could take five months to remove all the debris and make repairs.

Using the access road will save Darrington residents a lengthy detour to travel to and from the Interstate 5 corridor.

Michael Anderson of Snohomish was one of those who used the newly opened access road Tuesday morning. He said it would cut his round trip commute down by about two hours.

"I think it's probably a good deal," he said. "It actually opened probably sooner than expected."