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News / Clark County News

Slide on Highway 504 near Mount St. Helens may be removed by August

May 14 debris slide seriously damaged road and bridge

By William Seekamp, Columbian staff writer
Published: June 16, 2023, 5:33pm

A month after a debris slide near Mount St. Helens that stranded a dozen people and a dog, the Washington State Department of Transportation anticipates the debris being removed from the road by early August.

WSDOT said there is no estimated time when the road may be reopened to the public.

Consisting of rock, mud, ice and water, the May 14 debris slide caused significant damage to the Spirit Lake Outlet Bridge and highway, effectively blocking access to the Johnston Ridge Observatory on the north side of the mountain.

After the slide, geotechnical engineers determined that the slide area was unstable and was a potential safety risk. As a result, the road after Milepost 43, near Coldwater Lake, was closed.

Since then, Mount St. Helens Science and Learning Center at Coldwater has reopened to the public and reinstalled a water sensor that was damaged by the slide. WSDOT plans to open the Coldwater Lake Boat Launch and Picnic Area and the Lakes, South Coldwater and Hummocks trails on Saturday.

WSDOT will begin debris removal and slope stabilization work at the end of June. Additionally, WSDOT is working with agency partners to remove the vehicles left stranded at Johnston Ridge Observatory.

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This story was made possible by Community Funded Journalism, a project from The Columbian and the Local Media Foundation. Top donors include the Ed and Dollie Lynch Fund, Patricia, David and Jacob Nierenberg, Connie and Lee Kearney, Steve and Jan Oliva, The Cowlitz Tribal Foundation and the Mason E. Nolan Charitable Fund. The Columbian controls all content. For more information, visit columbian.com/cfj.

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Columbian staff writer