17.5 miles of State Route 26 to close for repair



The map above shows the 32-mile detour drivers will have to take on State Route 26. Eastbound traffic at Othello will turn south on SR 17 to SR 260, then east to Connell, then north on US 395 back to SR 26. Westbound traffic from Washtucna will follow the same route in reverse.

RYAN MOSHER and CARMEN JARAMILLO, Evergreen sports editor and Evergreen reporter

The Washington State Department of Transportation announced that State Route 26 will close for repairs starting Oct. 15 and will finish before Thanksgiving on Nov. 22.

During that time a 17.5-mile stretch of State Route 26 east of Othello, Washington, will be closed for nearly six weeks.

This is the second time the repairs have been rescheduled since the initial date was announced. The bridge needs repairs before it “becomes unsafe to use,” according to WSDOT’s website.

The repair was originally scheduled for spring 2019, but after re-evaluating the bridge, the WSDOT said it could not survive another winter and needed to be repaired earlier.

The original timing was meant to avoid major WSU events as well as the potato harvest season, according to WSDOT. However, the bridge deck is deteriorating faster than expected, thereby requiring WSDOT to begin work this month.

The advancement of repairs was initially announced in July and was scheduled for mid-August with a projected completion around the beginning of October. This was expected to impact WSU move-in as well as home football games.

Construction never began and at the beginning of September it was announced that the repair was rescheduled again for a mid-September start date with completion at the end of October.

The 32-mile detour for the closure will utilize State Route 17 and State Route 260 and U.S. Highway 395 and adds about 14 miles and 15 additional minutes to the drive into Pullman, according to WSDOT.

The closure will affect three Cougar football home games, including games on Oct. 20, Nov. 3 and Nov. 17 against University of Oregon, University of California, Berkeley, and University of Arizona, respectively.