Part of I-82 near Wapato tentatively scheduled to reopen by Friday

By on Tuesday, February 20th, 2024 in Columbia Basin News More Top Stories

WAPATO – (News release from Washington State Department of Transportation) Westbound Interstate 82 near Wapato is tentatively scheduled to reopen to traffic by Friday, Feb. 23, after an embankment failure near the eastbound lanes closed the highway a week ago. Eastbound I-82 is tentatively scheduled to reopen Friday, March 1.

The embankment failure was discovered Monday, Feb. 12, closing the eastbound lanes of the roadway. A comprehensive inspection by Washington State Department of Transportation maintenance and engineering teams determined the damage was due to a large irrigation culvert under the highway. Due to the age of the culvert, severe corrosion caused a partial collapse.

WSDOT and the emergency contractor, Interstate Concrete & Asphalt in Yakima, began excavation of the culverts on Thursday, Feb. 15. During the process, more damage occurred to the culvert under eastbound I-82, which started affecting the shoulder and the left lane of the westbound lanes. To ensure the safety of travelers, both westbound lanes were closed as well.

WSDOT worked with the Roza Irrigation District to develop a preliminary replacement solution. To date, contractor crews have removed the damaged culverts and built a temporary drainage system using coarse rock to accommodate any residual ground water.

Crews next will backfill the temporary drain, and rebuild and pave the westbound lanes, with a tentative reopening by Friday, Feb. 23. Crews will continue to work on rebuilding and repaving the eastbound lanes with a tentative reopening by Friday, March 1.

In the meantime, I-82 remains closed in both directions with the following detour routes:

  • Eastbound traffic will detour off I-82 at exit 37A onto US 97. Travelers will then use McDonald Road to State Route 22 and back onto I-82.
  • Westbound traffic will detour off I-82 at exit 50 onto Buena Road and then follow a detour via Yakima Valley Highway and Donald Wapato Road to return to I-82.

Travelers should allow extra time and plan for delays while work to repair the area is underway. WSDOT appreciates and thanks travelers for their patience during this expedited repair work.

Photo via WSDOT shows embankment failure discovered Feb. 12, 2024