by: Chris Legeros Updated:NACHES, Wash. —
State crews were racing to clear tons of rock and dirt from State Route 410 near Naches Friday.
A heavy rainstorm Thursday night triggered seven or eight mudslides. The debris is up to 8 feet deep.
"We had, basically, gully washers that washed a whole lot of debris down off the hillside," said Don Whitehouse, the regional administrator for the Washington Department of Transportation.
Ron Patterson was driving down the highway when the rocks began to fall.
"There was a lot of them in the middle of the road and we had to swerve," Patterson said. "Cars going the other way had to swerve around them. It was pretty bad."
An old log cabin was also destroyed by a slide, but it wasn't occupied.
Mudslides are not common on this stretch of Highway 410. A huge natural landslide was just east of the same spot in 2009. It not only buried the highway, it rerouted the river. It took two years to repair the damage from that slide, but in the process, an old gravel road, parallel to 410 was paved as a detour.
The detour has once again come in very handy for locals.
"It doesn't slow us down, hardly at all," said Jan Hanson.
Whitehouse said it should take a couple of days to clear the highway, and a day or so to repair the damage done by the slides. They won't be able to accurately assess the damage until they get a look at what's underneath all the debris.