Spirit Lake Highway Closure Continues Indefinitely Amid Sinkhole Repairs


TOUTLE — A failing culvert is the cause for a sinkhole on westbound State Rout 504, also known as Spirit Lake Memorial Highway, and both lanes are indefinitely closed amid repairs, officials report.

The state highway at milepost 13.5, near Tower Road and east of Toutle, has been closed since Monday morning due to a sinkhole. Part of the roadway's asphalt has collapsed into a hole underneath.

State Communication Consultant Kelly Hanahan said Department of Transportation crews are working to create a temporary replacement for the culvert, while a permanent solution would have to be budgeted and scheduled.

She could not give a timeline of when the road will open. She said crews have to cut out the existing pavement, excavate under the roadway, fill the hole with concrete and wait for the work to set to complete the temporary repairs.

Hanahan advised drivers to use a detour on State Route 505, as crews work "to get this done as quickly as possible."

Sinkholes are ground depressions with "no natural external surface drainage," reports the United States Geological Survey. The organization states sinkholes create about $300 million in damage per year throughout the country.