The heavy storms currently raging throughout the Pacific Northwest have broken rainfall records throughout Oregon and Washington State. This precipitation and the resulting floods can be a major contributing factor to geohazards and increase the likelihood of landslides, rockfall events, and debris flows.
The Oregonian reported that nearly three inches of rain fell in Portland, Oregon. This set records and caused flooding that is responsible for two (2) deaths, extensive damage, and widespread road closures. Due to similar hazardous conditions in Washington, Governor Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency.
“Emergency landslides, soil instability, and sinkholes are already occurring in Oregon and Washington,” Bryan Wavra, GeoStabilization’s Pacific Northwest Project Development Engineer, said. “These geohazards are a dangerous threat to the travelling public throughout Oregon and Washington.”
Wavra has over 15 years’ of geotechnical engineering experience in the Pacific Northwest. He spent the last six (6) years focusing on helping state and federal agencies quickly repair geohazards that threaten their infrastructure. Wavra said that the agencies are now experiencing the immediate effects brought on by the flooding and are being forced to quickly respond to these emergencies.
“We are currently working to stabilize historic landslides for the Oregon Department of Transportation and are ready at a moment’s notice to respond to Pacific Northwest emergencies” Wavra said. “We work with state and local agencies regularly and are familiar with their project requirements necessary to receive federal reimbursement dollars. These include domestic steel requirements associated with the Buy American Act. GeoStabilization also works hand-in-hand with material suppliers to maintain our own material inventory to facilitate swift emergency responsiveness.”
Wavra also said that GeoStabilization has crews on the ground in the Pacific Northwest that are uniquely qualified for rapid response geohazard mitigation. Their training and experience in previous emergency contracting work ensures that road access is quickly restored. He adds that GeoStabilization’s wealth of experience allows them to spend less time negotiating contracts and more time mobilizing their fleet for a better response time; minimizing the impact on the travelling public.
Local news outlets, like KOIN, are reporting that massive sinkholes have opened up and landslides are closing major traffic arteries. In an effort to avoid closures, motorists are encountering standing water, hydroplaning, and other hazardous conditions on alternate routes. Contractors with emergency response experience, like GeoStabilization, can expedite the repairs and return the roadways to safe, working order.
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The project site was located approximately 6km east of Hinton, Alberta on the north side of Highway 16. The project consisted of constructing two retaining walls to mitigate a surficial geohazard from impacting the safe day to day operation of an existing rail line. The rail line was operational and is integral to the material transport process.