The Forest Service's plans for the Mountain Loop
The short story: the Forest Service has selected option 2, which calls for rebuilding the road in roughly the same location it was formerly, but with sections moved back slightly away from the South Fork Sauk River. A 60-foot concrete bridge will span a troublesome bend in the river. The Forest Service will also practice mitigation measures to ensure only small amounts of sediment are released into the river during construction. No trees larger than 8 inches in diameter will be removed, and the total footprint of the work will equal about an acre. Only one section of the road will require rip-rap (structurally supporting rocks) in the riverbed, a welcome change from earlier plans.
In general, the Forest Service seems to have gone out of its way to rebuild the road in a manner that can withstand future floods, while addressing the habitat needs of salmon, marbled murrelets and other wildlife.
Work would begin this summer, depending on whether any appeals are filed. WTA currently supports the Forest Service's plan to rebuild the road.
Photo of Mountain Loop Highway washout courtesy of U.S. Forest Service.