WSDOT honored for response Nile Valley Landslide disaster - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

WSDOT honored for response Nile Valley Landslide disaster

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YAKIMA, Wash-- When you hear "disaster response"  the Department of Transportation probably doesn't come to mind.  However Washington's Department of Transportation just earned some national recognition for their local emergency action.

They received two environmental awards for their response to the Nile Valley landslide that among other things destroyed state route 4-10 and flooded the Valley.

Their biggest project was building a temporary bypass road and re-routing the river so drivers could get through the area.

This earned them the 2011 Exemplary Human Environment Initiative Award, and the Exemplary Ecosystem Initiative Award.

The DOT sees the disaster response as just part of their job so the awards were a welcome surprise.

"In an area where we were forced into a leadership position we were able to organize a group of agencies and met a public expectation that agencies are going to work together to solve a common problem", says Jason Smith, of the WSDOT.

However their work is not done.  For nearly two years a detour for sr-410 has been in place while they work on roadway reconstruction.