Highway 530 could reopen to traffic through the mudslide zone on the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River by mid- to late June — months earlier than expected.
But a spokesman for the state Department of Transportation (WSDOT) said traffic could still be pinched on the route because the highway is expected to open with just a single lane, alternating eastbound and westbound traffic.
Two-way traffic will resume once a permanent elevated highway is completed, with a target date of October, said WSDOT spokesman Travis Phelps.
Opening 530, even with just a single lane, would move traffic off a narrow, primitive Seattle City Light service road the utility uses to access transmission towers in the area. Traffic follows pilot cars on the steep, three-mile detour route at 10 miles an hour.
Bill Vlcek, WSDOT regional administrator, said the contractor hired to clear the highway, IMCO General Construction of Ferndale, has cleared about 1,100 feet of buried highway, with about 800 feet remaining.
The material is being taken to a county landfill in Oso after being screened for hazardous materials and personal belongings.