Thurston County to seek emergency grant to fix Prather Road mudslide

Site will likely need new culvert, slope work, road rebuilding

lpemberton@theolympian.comApril 9, 2014 

The Thurston County Commission voted 3-0 Tuesday to apply for a $724,500 emergency grant to help pay for damage from the Prather Road mudslide south of Rochester.

The grant is being requested through the state’s Rural Arterial Program, according to county civil engineer Steven Johnson. It’s a program administered by the County Road Administration Board and is funded by a portion of county fuel taxes.

In order to leverage the funding, the county will be required to pay for 10 percent of the project’s cost, which is expected to be $80,500, Johnson said.

There was little discussion about the grant application or project during Tuesday’s meeting. However, Commissioner Karen Valenzuela asked Johnson to describe what caused the Feb. 18 slide on Prather Road at Grunenfelder Road Southwest.

“We believe it was (the) saturated hillside itself and an intense rainstorm,” Johnson said. “The bottom line is we had a very wet month … several months, and the bank couldn’t take it.”

Crews still need to study the area, he said. At this point, it looks like county workers will need to replace the culvert, stabilize the slope and rebuild the damaged section of the road, Johnson told The Olympian.

The road is expected to remain closed from Lundeen Road to Michigan Hill Road Southwest until the repairs are complete, he said.

The detour is about seven miles for most drivers, and that section of Prather Road has an average traffic count of 529 vehicles per day, Johnson said.

Lisa Pemberton: 360-754-5433 lpemberton@theolympian.com @Lisa_Pemberton

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