After 2 months, cars recovered from Mt. St. Helens mudslide

Jul 17, 2023, 2:49 PM | Updated: 3:24 pm

mudslide mt. st. helens closes road...

The landslide blocked Forest Road 25 at milepost 26 has closed the road until further notice, likely through the summer. (Photo from Mt. St. Helens Forest Service)

(Photo from Mt. St. Helens Forest Service)

After a mudslide on Mt. St. Helens blocked access to Johnston Ridge Observatory, six cars were left trapped in the parking lot as their drivers were evacuated. Now those cars are being reunited with their owners.

Early Friday, July 14, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and six drivers met at the Hummock Trail to get their cars back.

More on Mount St. Helens: Coldwater Lake near Mount St. Helens reopens after mudslide

Days before the 43rd anniversary of the Mount St. Helens eruption, a mudslide wiped out an entire road and closed a popular tourist site.

WSDOT spokesperson Tamara Greenwell said a massive mudslide was so big it demolished the 85-foot Spirit Lake Outlet Bridge and closed State Route 504 at milepost 43.

Eleven people and a dog were evacuated by helicopter after being stranded overnight on the far side of the Johnston Ridge observatory, leaving their cars behind more than two months ago.

WSDOT is working in coordination with the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Geological Survey, and Skamania and Cowlitz counties to determine what needs to be done to stabilize the soil in the area and rebuild the roadway.

“Additional safety analysis is needed, but due to the ongoing geological instability in the area, it’s too soon to tell when we’ll be able to safely do that work,” said Brad Clark, WSDOT Southwest Region Maintenance Manager. “We appreciate everyone’s patience during this emergency.”

More from National Park Service: Hurricane Ridge reopens, reaches capacity within 3 hours

Currently, the road is only open to the Washington Department of Transportation and the U.S. Forest Service. The road leading up to the observatory remains closed to the public.

Crews plan to reopen the highway to the public next spring.

KIRO 7 News contributed to this report.

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After 2 months, cars recovered from Mt. St. Helens mudslide