WSDOT sets plan for detour around 530 slide

DARRINGTON, Wash. -- Residents who use Highway 530 to get to and from work and to see family members on the other side of the Oso slide may soon get some help.

Their commutes have been drastically altered due to the highway being closed, adding extra hours behind the wheel.

On Monday they learned WSDOT is attempting to gain use of a Seattle City Light access road that would serve as a new temporary detour. It's a one-lane road, so traffic would have to follow that pattern, likely on a set schedule.

WSDOT told the crowd gathered at the Community Center in Darrington that the road would likely only be open during daylight hours. Some residents raised objections to that, but others were just glad to get some answers.

"It gave me a rough idea of what sort of time frames they're looking at, so it's progress," one resident said at Monday's meeting.

Some attendees also raised concern about the heavy tourist traffic that will soon come. They asked how local traffic can be prioritized. It could take several weeks to get permission to use it from the various land owners who live along the access road.

They also learned WSDOT hopes to have Highway 530 reopened by September. Officials admit there are a lot of variables at play, including significant changes to the Stillaguamish River's width and height and drainage along the slide zone.

The repair schedule also depends on the condition of the highway under the debris field.

There are two more WSDOT meeting's scheduled. The next will take place Tuesday from 7-9 p.m. at the Oso Community Chapel. The second meeting will take place Wednesday from 6-8 p.m. The Stillaguamish Senior Center's Main Hall in Arlington.