Remember this mess? It doesn’t look like that now! WSDOT’s Nile Valley Landslide Project, with Selland Construction as general contractor, won an Innovative Management Award from AASHTO and is now a finalist for national People’s Choice Award. It’s the only WA project in the final ten, vote for it now! (photo courtesy WSDOT)
In this election season, vote for…WSDOT’s and Selland Construction’s Nile Valley Landslide Project! AASHTO, AAA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce announced that the project is amont the Top 10 finalists in the 2010 America’s Transportation Awards competition.
The project already received an Innovative Management Award, which landed it as a finalist for both the “People’s Choice Award” (which you can vote for here – but do so by Oct. 18) and the Grand Prize, to be selected by a panel of judges. If the Nile Valley project wins either award, Washington State will receive funds to support an educational grant in the transportation field, or to fund a community service project selected by WSDOT.
On Oct. 11, 2009, a massive landslide destroyed a half-mile of SR 410, west of Yakima, blocking and uplifting the adjacent Naches River and flooding the parallel Nile Loop county road. Fortunately, no one was injured by the movement of millions of cubic yards of rock and soil, but life will be forever changed for the estimated 600 residences and businesses west of the slide, as well as travelers on SR 410.
(As reminder of what WSDOT and Selland were dealing with, click landslide photos.)
SR 410 connects central Washington to western Washington via the 5,430- foot Chinook Pass, 38 miles west of the slide. Due to heavy winter snows and high avalanche danger, WSDOT closes Chinook Pass every winter, typically by late November. The pass remains closed until Memorial Day, effectively leaving the only access from SR 410 to employment, schools, and retail to the east.
Immediately after the landslide, the diverted Naches River flooded residences and the Nile Loop Road, cutting off the only remaining easterly access. WSDOT used innovative management in collaboration with Yakima County, which has jurisdiction over the river, to acquire needed properties, re-channel the river away from the landslide toe, monitor for additional landslide movement, and design and construct a 4,000-foot detour road that would withstand projected winter flooding. The state needed to ensure winter access for the residences and businesses that would soon to be shut off from the west. Six days after the landslide, Governor Chris Gregoire visited the site and committed to opening the detour route by Thanksgiving, a 45-day rush timeline.
WSDOT and AGC-member Selland Construction worked 14 hours a day, seven days a week to construct a new river channel and detour, while WSDOT environmental experts coordinated with resource agencies to ensure the agency mitigated and/or minimized long term impacts. On November 24, the day before the promised target, WSDOT opened the detour to traffic.
WSDOT’s post-project safety report noted that Selland’s employee worked in excess of 25,000 hours in just over 50 days of work, with most working 14-16 hours days, seven days a week. In many cases employees worked in excess of 30 days straight. Plus, at a peak, Selland had 87 pieces of equipment on site. Nevertheless, no injuries or equipment damage occurred.
“It’s quite a major accomplishment to rebuild a roadway like this in a just over a month,” WSDOT Regional Administrator Don Whitehouse said at the time of the road opening. “We could have never done this without the cooperation of landowners, our agency partners and our contractor Selland Construction, Inc.”
Remember: Vote here by Oct. 18.