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Crack sealing may result in traffic delays throughout Columbia Basin

by CHERYL SCHWEIZER
Staff Writer | April 25, 2024 6:58 PM

MOSES LAKE — Drivers traveling through the Columbia Basin and North Central Washington have another reason to build in a little extra time to the trip between now and mid-June. Washington State Department of Transportation crews will be sealing cracks on roads throughout the region.

Crack-sealing starts Monday, wrote Sebastian Moraga, WSDOT communications, in a press release. Crews will start near Othello and be working from Othello to Brewster, Wenatchee to Coulee Dam. 

The first section will be State Route 26, mileposts 31 to 42 directly south of Othello. 

“Work schedule will typically be Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. Travelers (in the work zones) should expect flagger-controlled traffic with delays during daylight hours,” Moraga wrote.

Work is planned on about seven miles of Interstate 90 in and around Moses Lake, including both the freeway entrances and exits at West Broadway Avenue and State Route 17. All of State Route 281 between George and Quincy, including the two mile spur that connects the highway to the Ephrata freeway access, will get crack sealing. A 17-mile stretch of State Route 28, from Rock Island to White Trail Road near Quincy, is on the project list. 

The first mile of SR 26 near Royal City is scheduled for work; so is a long stretch of SR 17 around Othello, from Booker Road to Lind Coulee. Crews will be sealing cracks on State Route 174 between Leahy Junction and Coulee Dam. 

The rest of the crack sealing work is around Wenatchee and East Wenatchee and areas to the north. Two miles of U.S. Highway 2 near Wenatchee, and another 13 miles between Orondo and Waterville, are scheduled for crack sealing. The Orondo portion starts at the intersection with U.S. Highway 97 and extends west.

Sections of Highway 97 and 97A are on the list. Crews will be working on two miles of 97A near Wenatchee and 18 miles between Entiat and Chelan. The work on Highway 97 will include 18 miles starting north of Orondo to the Beebe Bridge at Chelan Falls and the seven miles between Brewster and Pateros.

Paving and construction crews have completed work on improvements to three roads around the Gorge Amphitheater. Paving and striping were completed late last week. 

Sections of Silica Road Northwest and Southwest and West Baseline Road were resurfaced, and a mile of Silica Road Southwest was widened to three lanes. So was a mile of West Baseline Road. The goal, said Grant County Engineer Dave Bren in an earlier interview, is to improve traffic flow and access to the amphitheater and campground. 

“It is all paved and they finished re-striping of the roads,” Bren wrote in answer to a question from the Columbia Basin Herald.

The Vantage Bridge project is scheduled for completion in 2027. Crews are replacing the badly worn bridge deck, a process that requires one lane to be closed in each direction during working hours and speeds through the work zone to be reduced to 40 miles per hour. Loads more than 10 feet wide are prohibited during working hours. Through the end of May, crews will be working Monday through Friday.

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at cschweizer@columbiabasinherald.com.