Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

Highway 26 detour will remain through Thanksgiving, Apple Cup weekend


November 15, 2018

Work to replace the State Route 26 bridge deck over the BNSF railroad main line west of Highway 395 has taken longer than expected so the closure and the Highway 26 detour will be in place through Thanksgiving and Apple Cup game, two events expected to bring heavy traffic load.

Work is expected to last into December.

“Safety for travelers and workers is WSDOT’s first priority and requires the additional time for this project. At the same time, the simple detour has proven capable of safely accommodating high traffic volumes without significant delays,” said Dan Lewis, project engineer.

The detours adds 14 miles to the cross-state trip. Westbound traffic on Highway 26 is now required to turn southboud on 395 to Connell, turn off onto Highway 260 at Connell, drive to Highway 17 and turn right to return to Highway 26.

Contractor crews for N.A. Degerstrom Inc., working for the Washington State Department of Transportation, had hoped to complete the work in time for the Thanksgiving holiday and annual Apple Cup football game. However, protecting the railroad tracks under the bridge during demolition work took longer than anticipated and delayed the concrete pour.

First deadline for the $1.2 million project was Nov. 21, the day WSU westbound traffic is expected to be heavy at the start of the Thanksgiving break.


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