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Contact: Barb Maynes, 360-565-3005
The 17-mile Hurricane Ridge Road will remain closed through tomorrow, Tuesday, August 18, due to a slow but continuous rockfall onto the road, announced Olympic National Park officials today. If necessary, the road may remain closed longer, but park staff are currently working to fully assess the situation and examine alternatives for reopening the road as soon as it is safe to do so.
"We hate to close any of our roads during the busy summer season, but safety for visitors and employees is our highest priority," said Sue McGill, Olympic National Park Deputy Superintendent. "With a steady stream of gravel mixed with large rocks rolling and bouncing onto the road, safety concerns dictate this temporary closure."
The rockslide, which follows a winter avalanche chute, is located just above the road's third and highest tunnel, about nine miles south of Port Angeles, and originates on a steep slope high above the road. Falling rocks were observed on Saturday, continuing through the day on Sunday and leading rangers to close the road Sunday afternoon.
Rocks and debris continue to fall today. Park staff is working with the Federal Highway Administration to more fully assess the situation and will fly over the site Tuesday to better inspect the summit and upper slope of the rockfall chute.
More information and photos of the rockfall site will be released as it becomes available. For information about alternative destinations within Olympic National Park, people may consult the park's website or call the Olympic National Park Visitor Center at 360-565-3130. The recorded Road and Weather Hotline is updated throughout the day with changes and can be reached by calling 360-565-3131.