Road work to cause delays on Washington side of Gorge

Granite Construction is scheduled to begin resurfacing Washington State Route 141 Monday morning, starting at the Skamania County line.

Susan Fell, assistant area engineer for the Washington State Department Transportation (WSDOT) Southwest Region’s Columbia Gorge Area, said the contractor anticipates a production rate of about 9 miles per day on SR 141 and U.S. 197 (Dallesport area), and 6 miles per day on SR 14 due to the volume of traffic.

“The chipping operation along SR 141, SR 14, and U.S. 197 will take about three weeks,” Fell said, and noted, “There is approximately 70 miles of chip sealing to be completed.”

Granite Construction, of Dallesport, is required by its $5.1 million contract with WSDOT to complete the chip seal operation by Aug. 31. Fell said different work operations may be staggered, which may create gaps in between work crews, though traffic delays for motorists should not exceed 20 minutes. Pilot cars for traffic control will be used at each location. WSDOT plans to run pilot cars continuously to keep vehicle speeds to 35 miles per hour for a minimum of 72 hours after sweeping, and until the surface is cured, according to Fell.

“Past projects have shown that, when we utilize pilot cars to slow down traffic until the chip seal cures, there has been a significant reduction in the number of cracked windshields,” Fell said.

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