The slow landslide of Rattlesnake Ridge led the state Department of Transpiration to take steps to keep passing drivers on Interstate 82 safe.

“At the first sign of more movement or increased frequency of falling rock, we will close the highway. However, when dealing with Mother Nature, it’s hard to predict when this may occur. This is why we are working with local agencies as well as our crews to keep an eye on it,” said the WSDOT representatives Summer Derrey and Meagan Lott.

The most visible step is a wall of freight containers along Thorp Road. They are set to prevent rocks from rolling down onto Highway 82 between Yakima and the Tri-Cities.

Inside the containers are concrete Jersey barriers to weigh them down.

“Although each box weighs six tons, it won’t stop a landslide, but will protect against rocks,” said the state.

WSDOT

If there are signs of the hill rapidly sliding, the state will close the highway and detour people around the area through Highway 97. The detour would be from Granger to Union Gap. The closure would remain in effect until the debris can be cleared.

“While there are certainly a lot of unknowns with this landslide issue … We’re preparing for all possibilities at this point.”