July 14, 2008

Experts: Logging Puts Highways in Danger

Logging along highways in southwest Washington has made the roadways prone to hill slides, officials say.

Although the state Department of Natural Resources can restrict clear-cutting when geological reviews indicate landslides could put public safety at risk, state foresters have skipped that oversight role and approved logging permits, The Seattle Times reported Monday.

The newspaper said a slide on Highway 6 following heavy rains last December cost $3.3 million and took three months to clean up.

DOT geologists say they were unaware of plans to log above the highway.

I don't feel that there is a burden of responsibility that is taken seriously, said Tom Badger, a DOT geologist. I really think there is a systemic problem.

DNR officials say they watch for unstable slopes and sometimes put areas off-limits to logging.