US 12 phase expected to wrap up in June

Last winter's weather pushed the finish date off from the previous projection of this month.

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WALLA WALLA -- Bad weather last winter was not only rough on people, it beat up at least one road project as well.

Construction delays due to the snow, ice and rains have pushed the finish date for the latest phase of widening U.S. Highway 12 pushed back to June of next year. The project was originally scheduled for completion this month.

"The project completion was delayed because of the weather we had last year. There were about 60 unworkable days due to inclement weather. Lets hope that is not the case this winter," said Moe Davari, project engineer with the Washington State Department of Transportation.

Most of the delay was due to heavy snow in December and January, followed by unexpected warm weather in February that melted the snow quickly, causing flooding and "some major erosions" of the new roadbed.

When finished, the work will create a new four-lane divided highway leading about 9.7 miles west from Walla Walla to the Frenchtown vicinity. The section of U.S. Highway 12 it will bypass will become a county road.

The $56.6 million project remains on budget, Davari said. The contractor, Apollo Inc., has completed 95 percent of the rock placement for the roadbed and paving is about 45 complete at this point. A new overpass and two new roundabouts at the highway's junction with Myra Road are also close to being finished.

Andy Porter can be reached at andyporter@wwub.com or 526-8318. Check out his blog at blogs.ublabs.org/randomthoughts.

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