The U.S. DOT has made $1 million available to help Washington state cover the costs of repairing roads damaged by a massive mud slide in Snohomish County on Saturday, March 22.
"These funds represent the first installment of our commitment to the people of Washington state while our thoughts continue to be with the families suffering great losses from this disaster," said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "This devastating mud slide has damaged roads and bridges people rely on daily, and we’ll be with the state as they recover."
About 60 miles north of Seattle near the town of Oso, a large mud slide, roughly the size of a square mile, moved south across the Stillaguamish River between Arlington and Darrington. It damaged both directions of S.R. 530 between Oso Loop Road and Little French Creek Road, and that section of the route remains closed.
Debris from the slide also blocked the north fork of the Stillaguamish River.
The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is consulting with Snohomish County to develop a plan for clearing S.R. 530 once the rescue and recovery efforts have concluded and the site is determined safe. WSDOT is already lining up potential contractors to help with the cleanup.
The Stillaguamish River is blocked by a dam of debris from the landslide and is now carving out a new channel through the area. Water rose about a foot every 30 minutes because of debris, and WSDOT is still concerned about flash flooding and damage to downstream bridges in the area. The agency is monitoring all bridges that could be impacted if the Stillaguamish River debris dam breaks.
"We are committed to work with the state until transportation is completely restored in the area," said Federal Highway Deputy Administrator Greg Nadeau. "Washington state can count on us to provide federal resources as they work to recover from this tragic event."