Rock removal project on 97A will lead to closures of the highway beginning next week

Rocks have been a persistent problem on Highway 97A, including a slide earlier this week. Washington State Patrol photo

A $660,000 state project to remove loose and unstable rocks along Highway 97A is expected to start next Wednesday after being delayed since April because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Washington State Department of Transportation says during the work the highway will be closed for extended periods between Entiat and Chelan in three different areas.

The project to remove lose, unstable rock begins May 20 and day long closures begin May 26. 

“These closures are necessary to ensure the safety of the public and crew and expedite the work to reduce overall affects to travel on this section of US 97A,” WSDOT said.

Rocks and boulders sliding onto the highway has been a persistent problem, with numerous vehicles suffering damage.

Work on the project was scheduled to start April 6 but the WSDOT suspended all its projects after Gov. Jay Inslee issued his Stay Home, Stay Safe order March 23.

Because of the closures, Link Transit said today its Route 21 bus will travel from Wenatchee to Chelan and Manson on the Douglas County side of the Columbia River from 7:15 a.m. until 4:15 p.m. during the work.

Service between Entiat and Chelan will be suspended but a shuttle will operate between Columbia Station and Entiat.