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Crews Struggle To Fix Roads Hammered By Snow And Rain East Of The Cascades

Roads in a large swath of central and eastern Washington and Oregon have been devastated by melting snow and heavy rain. The flood of potholes and washouts has stalled heavy trucks carrying wheat, cattle and equipment.

Public works crews from Spokane County in Washington to Gilliam County in Oregon have said they are overwhelmed. In Washington’s Franklin County alone, officials believe they are approaching $3 million of damage from melting snow and heavy rain storms on already-saturated ground.

Scott Yaeger, an engineer for Adams County, Washington, has closed off nearly 300 miles of damaged roadways so far.

“It’s an excessive amount of runoff at one time,” Yaeger said. “So it is overwhelming. Right now we’re just waiting for water to stop running so we can address the problems.”

Oregon counties bordering the Columbia River are also having issues. County officials in both states say they need federal help to pay for all these repairs. But many of their roads may be too rural to qualify.

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. She covers the Mid-Columbia region, from nuclear reactors to Mexican rodeos.