SR 530 reopens to two-way, 50 mph traffic six months after deadly mudslide
OSO, Wash. — State Route 530 between Oso and Darrington was reopened to two-way, 50 mph traffic Monday night — exactly six months after the deadly slide.
“Contractor crews are done paving and striping the reconstructed road between Oso and Darrington,” the Washington State Department of Transportation tweeted shortly after 8:30 p.m. Monday.
Heather Kelly, the 530 recovery team lead, is still amazed at the transformation of the area around the road.
“Each week we come here and there’s more and more plant life, more natural occurrence with the river and the channeling,” she said Thursday. “It’s amazing the effort the county and all of our contractors did to make this look acceptable to the community.”
Even though the scenery has changed dramatically, it’s still hard for many in this community to believe six months have passed.
“It seems like a blink of an eye and it also feels like it’s been 10 years,” said Oso Fire Chief Willy Harper. “The hummocks are gone, the debris piles are gone, so it isn’t that constant reminder of the bad things that were out here.”
But no one can forget that 43 people lost their lives when the hillside suddenly gave way, burying homes and the highway.
The community is trying to move on, and so is Mother Nature. The Stillaguamish River has started to carve out its new path, and wildflowers are already starting to bloom on its banks.
“It’s been nice to see how nature is just doing its thing to regain and re-control the area,” said Kelly.