soap lake wsdot

Project stretches nearly 10 miles, seeks to reduce rockfall onto the highway

SOAP LAKE – It’s unclear if it’s part of their New Year’s resolution, but the slopes along State Route 17 from mileposts 76 to 85 in Grant County will start to look trimmer this year.

To make travel from Soap Lake to Coulee City safer for locals and visitors, a contractor for the Washington State Department of Transportation will remove rock from the slopes along the highway and install netting to help stabilize the terrain. This will reduce the likelihood of rockfall on SR 17, which is damaging the roadway and creating a hazardous condition for drivers.

Eight slopes within a 10-mile stretch will be included in this project, which is scheduled to start in mid-February and last until October.

The project will involve closing the full highway four times for up to 10 hours each. These closures have yet to be scheduled but will occur on weekdays and will allow large cranes to stand on the highway and hang the netting over the slopes.

Travelers may choose to use alternate routes, but the project will not have a designated detour.

Further closures expected

During the first phase of the project SR 17 between mileposts 76 and 85 will be open for only 15 minutes at the start of every hour between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The highway will be closed from 15 minutes after the hour until the start of the next hour.

The first phase of the project is expected to last about 35 working days.

During the rest of the project, travelers should expect single-lane closures throughout the 10-mile stretch. People should expect wait times of 20 minutes or more.

The Washington State Department of Transportation will provide updated information, including travel advisories and up-to-date road information once the closures begin. Real-time travel information is available from the WSDOT mobile app , the WSDOT Travel Center Map or by signing up for WSDOT's email updates .