TRAFFIC ALERT UPDATE: Highland Park Way hill partly reopens, 5+ hours after another slide

12:24 PM: Just happening now: Police are closing Highland Park Way hill, both ways, because of another slide. “Just like last week,” one officer radioed in. Last week, you’ll recall, a slide closed that stretch of the crucial detour route for a day and a half.

12:34 PM: Thanks to the texter who sent that photo taken before the road was closed. Unlike last week, the power lines do not appear to have been affected this time. (added) Here’s the traffic camera at the bottom of the hill:

2:04 PM: Complicating matters on one detour-route-detour, SPD and SFD are responding to word of a 4-vehicle crash at Delridge/Roxbury, reported to be blocking southbound lanes.

2:36 PM: Just checked with SDOT, which tells us, “the current status is that we have a crew on site performing cleanup and they are planning to place ecology blocks. TBD on when the roads will reopen.” (We also flagged them that the traffic cameras are down again.)

3:48 PM: Cameras are working now. (Here’s the direct link to the one at the top of the hill, currently looking west of Holden.)

4:48 PM: Just went to the top of the hill and walked part of the way down to get a glimpse of the cleanup.

A backhoe was at work, and there’s a lot to scoop up – we’ve just received additional images from earlier – Kay Kirkpatrick says about 100 feet of slope slid:

5:11 PM: And just tweeted by SDOT:

5:43 PM: One lane has reopened each way, SDOT just announced, after 5 1/2 hours.

6:07 PM: Metro Route 131 has resumed service on the hill, too.

6:26 PM: SDOT adds in a news release, “Additional lanes of the road and sidewalk may be reopened once geological experts verify that the area is safe to travel through.”

74 Replies to "TRAFFIC ALERT UPDATE: Highland Park Way hill partly reopens, 5+ hours after another slide"

  • Sparky January 11, 2022 (12:30 pm)

    I am shocked…shocked I tell you!

    • Admyrl Byrd January 11, 2022 (2:01 pm)

      More precisely:SDOT Geotech Consultant:  <blows whistle> “Everybody off Highland Park Way, this road is closed!!!  Off!”<traffic scurries to White Center>SDOT Geotech Consultant:  “I’m shocked to find there’s been a landslide on Highland Park Way, Shocked!”SDOT Accounts Payable Clerk:  “Here’s your fee for last week’s evaluation”SDOT Geotech Consultant:  “Thank you <pockets cash> Everybody off!”

      • Nora January 11, 2022 (4:22 pm)

        Admyrl Byrd, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

      • Peter January 11, 2022 (7:24 pm)

        So your claim is that the road was closed because a geotechnical consultant could get a check, a and not because of a landslide. Got even a single shred of evidence to support your idiotic claims?

        • Admyrl Byrd January 12, 2022 (1:49 pm)

          Peter – of all the comments in all the blogs in all of Seattle…. you had to walk into mine.At least Nora got it.Grab a sense of humor or spend some time catching up on classic movies (both preferably).

  • Brian January 11, 2022 (12:33 pm)

    I was just driving on that road two hours ago… don’t like this feeling one bit. No sir. 

    • Tracey January 11, 2022 (2:34 pm)

      I was just driving it between 1145 and noon today.  I know how you feel.  At that time, there was a truck blocking the right lane going up the hill.  I thought they were doing utility work.  There definitely wasn’t a slide yet.  I am happy I got my off island errand done today.  

  • 935 January 11, 2022 (12:45 pm)

    Are our overlords going to allow usage of the low bridge to ease congestion?

    • North Admiral Traffic Watcher January 11, 2022 (12:51 pm)

      You can use it if you’re in an ambulance. 

      • reed January 11, 2022 (2:03 pm)

        Or on feet or a bicycle.

    • Wseattleite January 11, 2022 (12:58 pm)

      Second that question. A fine opportunity for the overlords to show common sense with a bit of empathy thrown in. 

      • RDD January 11, 2022 (2:40 pm)

        Exactly.  Common sense says emergency vehicles need a clear path to get in and out of West Seattle.  Instead of being jealous of the people who get to cross that bridge in an ambulance, people should have some empathy for the emergencies that necessitated it.

        • T January 11, 2022 (4:02 pm)

          Thank you 

      • Buttercup January 11, 2022 (6:41 pm)

        My empathy stays with people who are being transported for emergencies, first responders, bus ridders( they give up the convince of a car and use their time). Even do, if people learned how to pull over for First responders I might have given it some , I see so many people who DONT pull over or even slow down in West Seattle. Put some of the blame on them. I doubt your commute is worse than the one I suffered through before the viaduct was torn down, 

    • Anne January 11, 2022 (12:59 pm)

      No & they shouldn’t.

    • Oh really January 11, 2022 (1:10 pm)

      Stop on the low bridge already,  it isn’t going to happen.  You know the reasons,  so quit asking.  

    • skeeter January 11, 2022 (1:37 pm)

      Ease congestion for who?  We need to prioritize freight, transit, and emergency vehicles on the lower bridge.

      • HarborIslandworker January 11, 2022 (3:28 pm)

        Skeeter… Don’t forget about the 680 longshoreman that have access to the Low Bridge. And the 216 West Seattle restaurants and retail businesses that also have access. “Because for some reason they can’t get the supplies they need before they open up Shop”. Just take a look at who is on the Low Bridge task force every group that has access was represented by somebody that has a vested interest.

        • skeeter January 11, 2022 (4:44 pm)

          HarborIslandworker – I think you know I work on Harbor Island too.  I’ve seen multiple cars pull over before/after crossing the bridge to swap license plates, remove license plates, put covers over license plates, etc.  It’s crazy.  Go for a walk at lunchtime and I bet you’ll spot this depraved behavior as well.  Say – didn’t you decide to start biking to work anyway?  I’ve been getting wet lately but it sure is fast to pedal over the bridge.  

          • Sam-c January 11, 2022 (7:04 pm)

            Wait, what???!!! Really?? All the time spent swapping out license plate totally negates the time they “saved” by breaking the law.  

        • Wseattleite January 11, 2022 (4:59 pm)

          Bingo Bingo harborislandworker. Special interests. And if it were really about safety and emergency vehicle access, freight and buses would NOT be allowed on the low bridge. ER vehicles can easily go over the bridge with cars pulled to the side, but much more difficult to do with trucks and busses that need a lot more space to pull over. A red herring as it were.  I do feel for your plight as your normal historical commute has been upended apparently in favor of those with political connections and efforts.  

    • aRF January 11, 2022 (1:52 pm)

      Really this whole problem could be solved if we just set aside a bridge for those people with an inflated sense of self-worth.

      • aa January 11, 2022 (2:28 pm)

        If you observe the number of (mainly bmw and mercedes) cars crossing the low bridge with license plates covered/removed, you’ll see we already have such a bridge!

        • aa January 11, 2022 (4:08 pm)

          Who’s using my initials?!

        • Tony G January 11, 2022 (6:18 pm)

          Aa I’ve observed plenty of Chevy’s, Ford’s and Subaru’s doing the same thing, no need to make this a class issue when it isn’t. And I don’t drive an import. 

    • Lagartija Nick January 11, 2022 (2:06 pm)

      If we’re wishing for unrealistic things, I wish our overlords would muzzle the whole lot of you.

  • Lola January 11, 2022 (12:57 pm)

    Our escape routes are getting less & less.  We will have to tunnel under just to leave WS anymore.  Does SW Pool offer swim classes just in case????  Swimming may be our only way off the Island anymore. 

    • foop January 11, 2022 (10:23 pm)

      Funny is the world where WSB commenters consider swimming before they consider cycling or taking the bus (which has been pleasant, if a little wet, but completely unfazed by these landslides)

  • Lizzy January 11, 2022 (1:15 pm)

    Were Geotechs consulted before it was reopened? This is very worrying.

  • HarborIslandworker January 11, 2022 (1:25 pm)

    Geez… can’t really catch a break around here. I don’t drive that route but I feel bad for the people to do

  • WS Res January 11, 2022 (1:29 pm)

    Drove past the slide area yesterday coming back from Tukwila Bloodworks (please sign up to give blood folks; it’s desperately needed) and I thought “bet that slides again if we get the amount of rain they’re predicting.”  Glad no one was hurt. 

    • Lynda B January 11, 2022 (7:55 pm)

      I second “Glad no one was hurt.” :)

      I took the long way home through White Center and Dave Koz “Reasons” came on. It was good to chill to.

  • DC January 11, 2022 (1:34 pm)

    I am so glad I take the bus to work (120). More exposure to COVID, but at least I don’t have to deal with that mess.

    • momosmom January 11, 2022 (1:59 pm)

      DC— don’t understand your reasoning,  but to each their own I guess

      • Hmm January 11, 2022 (4:35 pm)

        I get it

        • momosmom January 11, 2022 (6:07 pm)

          HMM—I guess being exposed to covid is better than sitting in traffic then.

  • Jort January 11, 2022 (1:37 pm)

    Again we see that substantial financial and physical burden our single-occupant automobile infrastructure places on our wallets and on our planet. As our climate changes (hastened, of course, by the aforementioned addiction to single-occupant vehicles), and as our automobile-expansionist-era infrastructure fails (see your multi-million dollar bridge repair), you will see more and more of this kind of disruption in your life. And I assure and promise you: you will be wishing you had spent more money funding transportation alternatives than trying to slap soggy band-aids over these literally unfixable, unsolvable problems. The time to trade in your car for an e-bike was yesterday.

    • Spooled January 11, 2022 (6:30 pm)

      If I just drive 25 will the landslides stop?  Maybe some traffic calming features?

      • wscommuter January 11, 2022 (7:14 pm)

        Spooled … for the win.

      • Jort January 11, 2022 (9:21 pm)

        No, you will not stop landslides. Instead, you will save lives and significantly reduce the danger of killing or seriously injuring vulnerable road users. Also, you will be following the law instead of breaking it. 

      • Kathy January 12, 2022 (2:01 pm)

        Attention ticked-off drivers: Stop Burning Fossil Fuels to get around. You are contributing to climate warming which is exacerbating extreme weather events that will cause more landslides.   Attention Spooled: If everyone just drove  25 mph, the fossil fuel burning ones would at least be reducing the amount of their contribution to the problem.  If you can’t figure out a way to wean yourself off of fossil fuels, at least feel a little humble and maybe guilty about it instead of incessantly fixating on your personal inconvenience.

        • spooled January 12, 2022 (5:33 pm)

          Kathy, I was referring to jort’s comment in the pothole thread where he suggested potholes are ok if you just do 25 through them.  WSCommuter got it.  I’m not giving up driving.

    • skeeter January 11, 2022 (7:03 pm)

      One of my goals for 2022 is to meet Jort.  I wanna buy him/her a beer or cup of coffee and thank him/her for these amazing contributions to our community.  Jort was one of my motivations for dropping a car from our household and switching most local commutes/errands to bike.  My life has been getting only better since I started listening to Jort.

      • Jethro Marx January 11, 2022 (8:39 pm)

        Sounds like we need a “meet your fellow weirdos, blog commenters” night at Beveridge Place. We could draw random topics out of a hat and rant about them. Who will get “dogs off leash” or my personal favorite, “the problem with Alki is ____ “?

        • AMD January 12, 2022 (10:44 am)

          Remember when residents of Highland Park and White Center decided to meet in person instead of arguing on NextDoor, and it turned into a brawl at the library that made national news and someone’s car got keyed and the police were called out twice?  I think a “meet your fellow weirdos” night would be great, but maybe we should avoid libraries.

    • Pessoa January 11, 2022 (8:00 pm)

      Jort:  By constructing  massive, inflexible, transportation infrastructure that will be obsolete before it’s even finished?  Imagine the carbon debt  and immense cost that Link light rail has racked up with these gargantuan projects for minimal improvements in both accessibility and decreased pollution.  You want to encourage people to ride bikes or advocate for better bus service – great – but these train fantasies don’t pay their own freight.  

      • bill January 12, 2022 (8:49 am)

        Pessoa: It sounds like you have never been on Link. It is heavily used, to the point that at some times of day it is hard to bring a bike aboard. The alternative is most of those riders driving.

    • Jill Loblaw January 12, 2022 (7:01 pm)

      Jort: Thanks for your “insightful” and judgmental opinion regarding folks who have no other choice but to drive their cars out to places like Issaquah for their work. Having been in a vanpool for 20 years and now driving solo due to the pandemic, gives me the ability to see this situation from both perspectives. What have you done to contribute to the betterment of our areas transportation needs other than complaining.

  • John Smith January 11, 2022 (1:43 pm)

    I knew it was closed again when I saw all the racecar drivers on my residential street.

  • wscommuter January 11, 2022 (2:01 pm)

    We’re going to see more earth movement this winter – the soils are just saturated from all the moisture and these atmospheric rivers are compounding the situation.  Just hydrogeology at work.   

    • Another One January 11, 2022 (2:17 pm)

      And trees damaged from the heat and lack of rain this summer. 

  • Highland Park Mike January 11, 2022 (2:17 pm)

    As a hydrological engineer once told me: “You may win the battle, but in the end, water wins the war. Always.”

  • 🤦‍♂️ January 11, 2022 (2:26 pm)

    Marginal heading towards Chelan seem especially congested.

  • uncle loco January 11, 2022 (2:37 pm)

    I came up the hill around 11:55 today. It looked like there was a crew parked below the slide area monitoring the situation at that time but yeah, that slope don’t look too stable. I’m surprised they didn’t at least extend the eco blocks down through the slide area before this happened.

    • Patience January 11, 2022 (3:53 pm)

      @ 11:45am when I was heading up the hill, Utility workers had the right lane closed about a couple blocks east/downhill of the slide area – it did not look like they were working on  anything to do with the slide area.As I drove past the slide area at that time, the rain was coming down really hard – I looked at the trees at the top of that muddy hill and had a flash/thought of that hill coming down . . . yikes!!!

  • Julie S. January 11, 2022 (2:43 pm)

    SDOT maps aren’t showing a closure here. Just stop-and-go traffic. Is this open yet? Anyone? Bueller?!

    • WSB January 11, 2022 (2:59 pm)

      No, it’s not. We are continuing to update above.

  • Cindy Mix January 11, 2022 (3:12 pm)

    At least we still have power (don’tjinx that). I think these “blocks” they put in don’t  do too much…I mean water + mud + Mother Nature…she’s a beast

  • DJ Allyn January 11, 2022 (4:20 pm)

    The city REALLY needs to open up the lower Spokane Bridge to full traffic, because I just literally spent the past three hours trying to get from the First Ave South bridge to my house here in West Seattle.This is absolutely a mess that the SDOT caused over its mismanagement over the past fifteen years.

    • Sally January 11, 2022 (7:14 pm)

      For real??? 3 hours?  That’s crazy. I left a meeting in Magnolia at 2pm and got back to the office in North Delridge by 2:45pm.  

    • bill January 12, 2022 (8:52 am)

      Get real, DJ. The lower bridge has something like 20% of the capacity of the high bridge. You would just be sitting in a traffic jam in a different location.

  • KayK January 11, 2022 (4:38 pm)

    Just walked down for a peek, geo guy said they were trying to get at least two lanes open ASAP. Meanwhile we could see mud and gravel bits sliding down the cut. Frontline SDOT and Parks folks are well aware of how critical this route is and are working hard for all.

  • Trevor Leonard January 11, 2022 (4:39 pm)

    When you build your life around something, it can make you afraid of changin’….

  • George January 11, 2022 (5:11 pm)

    Does anyone know how backed up Roxbury is? I was supposed to drive into town tonight and that appears to be the only option.

    • NW January 11, 2022 (5:26 pm)

      If going into town means the city take transit.

    • JL January 11, 2022 (5:29 pm)

      roxbury is really backed up.  go to Burien and get on the freeway

  • Amanda January 11, 2022 (5:29 pm)

    It’s pretty obvious that this is a landslide zone. Any idea why ecology blocks we not installed last week?  

  • WSB January 11, 2022 (5:44 pm)

    Just added an update above: One lane is now open each way.

  • trickycoolj January 11, 2022 (5:59 pm)

    Asked CM Herbold about the safety of this route after the slide in 2017. They put up some ecological legos. And here we are two slides later. Does anyone remember Oso anymore? Or the 6 houses that slid down Magnolia in 1997? Traffic stacks up in the uphill lane all day long. How bad do you want to be sitting in that lane right now?

  • Tim January 11, 2022 (6:36 pm)

    If the swing bridge to WS  is open to full WS travel you might as well drive to Tacoma and come back. It’s one lane each way and would be a stand still. 

  • helpermonkey January 12, 2022 (8:15 am)

    They need to install some of those huge retaining walls like down in 3 Tree Point. The next slide here might just shove those eco blocks right into the street. 

  • Mj January 12, 2022 (9:12 am)

    For the comments suggesting opening up the low-level bridge to all traffic, it already is.  Transit, trucks, emergency and some select people get toll free access every one else can elect to pay the $75 fee.  

    The low-level bridge has more capacity than what is being allowed and the City could adjust the toll rate by time of day and weekends to better utilize the capacity.

  • Anna Florey January 12, 2022 (11:59 am)

    It sure would be great if they could let people know ahead of time rather than right at Holden so they could go another way and not deal with the 8th Ave SW BS. Y’know, like on 35th or 16th? 😡

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