Campers Temporarily Stranded by Mudslides
YAKIMA, wa - Campers spending the July 4th holiday near Chinook Pass were temporarily stranded while the DOT scrambled to clean up the mudslides. They say the wait wasn't a big deal, but the mess caused by the slides could've been much worse.
Campers lined up to drive over Chinook Pass early this afternoon.
"We came up here around ten o'clock. We were told it would be open around noon. We went down to the lodge for a little while and then came back to get in line," says Chris Salenski.
Salenski chose to stay in his vehicle to wait out the delay. Others parked near by to stretch their legs. Despite the wait, nobody was complaining. "Well, we have a portable toilet," says Ron Knight, camper from Richland enjoying a trip with his family, "We're good to go."
The knights say most campers already knew about the mudslides before they got to the road block near Bumping River Road. "We saw it on the news this morning and we looked it up on the internet. We just wanted to make sure it wasn't going to be an all day type thing," says Knight
The DOT was still busy cleaning up the muddy mess on State Route 410, but they were able to open up one lane to let traffic through a little bit after 12:30 this afternoon.
Chuck Laidler, a maintenance supervisor for the DOT, says the mudslides hit three different spots along State Route 410. The big one was about four miles west of Bumping River Road. Mud came pouring down the hillside for about 200 or 300 hundred yards. Laidler says it was about six inches deep across the roadway last night.
"There really isn't anything we can do to prevent them. Nature just has to take its course," says Laidler.
Campers ended up waiting for about 45-minutes today and they seemed to take the delay in stride.
"Just a longer road trip I guess," says Salenski.
The DOT says mudslides like this are pretty rare. They usually only happen once every five or six years.