Ever since a massive landslide took out a quarter-mile stretch of State Route 410 in 2009, drivers have relied on a swiftly built emergency route that won the Washington State Department of Transportation national recognition.

This month marks the start of preliminary construction on a permanent fix that will reroute the highway away from the rural community and begin carrying traffic by this fall.

“Cross-state travelers, hunters, and local residents will all appreciate this faster and more direct route,” said Don Whitehouse, WSDOT regional administrator.

Construction crews need to strengthen the riverbank to prevent the new highway from eroding before the water level rises in the spring. Several buildings are also slated to be removed from the flood plain.

Once groundwater levels recede in June, major construction will begin on support walls and the new highway.

WSDOT and contractor Apollo, Inc., of Kennewick, will construct a new route along the toe of the landslide that destroyed a quarter-mile of the old route. Construction includes grading, paving, stabilizing a slope on the west end and adding guardrail to the new route. Improvements to the intersection of Nile Loop Road and SR 410 include new turn pockets and lighting.

The $9.3 million Nile Valley reconstruction project removes SR 410 traffic from the Nile Loop Road, reestablishing the route near its original location before the landslide.

Drivers will experience only minor traffic delays as the majority of the work will take place within the existing SR 410 closure area.

To learn more about the project, join us on March 27, 2012, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Nile Valley Community Church at 60 Bedrock Lane in Naches.