HOQUIAM, Wash. — Crews spent Wednesday cleaning up landslides that covered roadways in Grays Harbor County.
Workers used excavator claws to scoop up giant tree limbs and debris that toppled down heavily wooded hillsides and landed in the middle of State Route 109.
“It’s been quite a project. Came through here late last night and there was still mud flowing,” said Hoquiam Police Chief Jeff Myers.
KIRO 7 spotted workers scaling the steep hillside as they cleared the muddy mess.
“It’s a risky job. I’ve been in the timber industry for years and years. Cutting the trees out of there is the toughest job,” said Bill Pickell.
Marcelina Lunceford missed the mudslide by minutes.
On her way to work early Tuesday morning, her van hit a boulder sitting in the middle of the street.
"I got out of my car and that’s when I saw it and realized the severity of what was going on,” she said.
Moments later, the hillside came crashing down.
“[My van] can be fixed, lives can’t. I’m just happy to be here,” Lunceford said.
About 30 miles north of Hoquiam, WSDOT crews worked throughout the day to clear another landslide that blocked State Route 109 in Taholah.
Workers reopened the highway at milepost 34 Wednesday afternoon.
But in Hoquiam, drivers had to use side streets to detour around Mother Nature’s mess.
"We have about 10,000 vehicles a day that go out to Ocean Shores, so that’s a lot of traffic going back on those roads,” said Pickell. “You’ve got to like the rain if you’re going to live here.”
Wednesday evening SR 109 near milepost 2 in Hoquiam remained closed.
© 2020 © 2020 Cox Media Group