Tag Archives: rock work

What prompted Windy Point rock work?

The in basket: I got the impression somewhere that the rock work on Highway 3 at Windy Point between Bremerton and Gorst that may create long backups this year isn’t so much prompted by worsening of the conditions on the cliff as by the evolving state slope stabilization program and the Windy Point area gradually working its way to the top of the list of needed projects.

I asked the state if I was right.

The out basket: Lisa Copeland of the Olympic Region of state highways says there have been rock falls there. “(We receive) “regular reports from the maintenance team about rock falling in the area, most of it is contained to the ditch,” she said. “The most recent, significant event occurred in 2006, when 10-20 cubic yards of debris came down the cliffs. A similar event occurred during the Nisqually earthquake in 2001.

“This project falls under WSDOT’s Unstable Slope Management Program which prioritizes the need for statewide unstable slope improvements.”

“According to Gabriel Taylor, WSDOT engineering geologist, the scale is based on 11 factors, each one ranging from 3 to 81,” Lisa said. “They are all combined for the rating. As a result, the low end and high end are ridiculously unrealistic numbers and most slopes rate between 200 and 500. The slopes on this project rate 450.

“The slopes are rated not just on rock fall history,” she said, “but on risk to the traveling public, which is accounted for by (average daily traffic) as well as other factors.(It’s 71,000 (trips per day) in the Windy Point vicinity).”