Gold Creek Loop remains closed after mudslide

By: 
KATIE LEITHEAD
S-E Staff Reporter

Goal is to get it fixed by the end of September

Heavy rain and snow melt in late May and early April, caused large mudslides on Monumental Mountain west of Colville. Two mudslides occurred between mileposts 0.20 and 0.60 and a third one was developing when the road was closed because it was unsafe for the public to travel on.

As most of the traveling public knows, this section of Gold Creek Loop Road is closed and an alternate route is available for folks.

Stevens County Public Works has been working toward getting the road repaired. They've already completed a digital terrain model of the roadway and their geo-techincal firm has performed three borings, one at each of the three slides, to help determine what sub-conditions caused the failures so options for repair can be considered.

Boring refers to the act of drilling into the earth to remove a sample for study. The geo-technical firm is in the process of putting together their report, which will include soil type, possible causes of the road failure and suggestions for fixing it.

There really are only three options though, build into the mountain, fix the road where it is or abandon it.

“It's going to have to be moved into the mountain side or be fixed where it is,” said Jason Heart, Assistant County Engineer/Assistant Public Works Director.

The anticipated completion date is by September 30.

“I knew it would take a certain amount of time for us to be able to get out there and open then road,” Hart noted. “It's going to take extensive work. I'm hoping we can still make that goal this September.”

Colville resident Bill Wilson noted that if you live on Corbett Creek Road your commute went from approximately three miles to get to town to about nine.

The crack in the road makes for a longer commute for anyone living above it. More time also means more more money spent on gas.

“There are at least 44 families that live on Corbett Creek Road alone, not counting Gold Creek and Monumental,” said Renotta Johns. “As for myself, I have to leave 25 minutes earlier to get to work, when school is in session I have to leave 35 minutes earlier. It used to be a seven minute commute to my work. My gas bill has almost doubled.”

“We have to drive seven miles on a windy country road instead of two miles on a straight stretch and a quick trip up the hill,” Megan Johns shared. “Our commute went from about 5 minutes to 20. People go really slow on this road and there's a ton more wildlife on it. I've almost hit several deer and turkey.”

The inconvenience has caused Megan to go into town less, when she used to get out frequently. She has also found that she can no longer go home for lunch, unless she wants to be late for work.

“If we have to drive that road in the winter it will be a longer and dangerous route with all the corners,” said Megan. “I miss the short trip home. I really hope they get it fixed soon.”

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