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Landslide closes more than 2 miles of Newport Way NW in Issaquah

Newport Way NW was closed Wednesday morning from Lakemont Boulevard SE to State Route 900.

ISSAQUAH, Wash. — The city of Issaquah closed Newport Way NW from Lakemont Boulevard SE to State Route 900 Wednesday morning due to a landslide.

The landslide occurred at NW Oakcrest Drive, according to the city. Multiple concrete barriers were pushed into the roadway.

The road will remain closed overnight and into Thursday, according to the city. Crews need more time to clean up the slide. 

The city asking everyone to use alternate routes, but some local access is possible on either side of the slide.

Some communities in the area are solely accessed by the closed roadway, including homes off NW Oakcrest Drive where the slide occurred.

This was just one in a number of landslides that occurred across Western Washington after heavy rains. David Montgomery, a professor of geomorphology for the University of Washington, says the fact that it's been a wet year makes zones of concern more susceptible to landslides.

"Western Washington is landslide country," Montgomery said. "This is terrain where landslides are a very natural process. Many of the hills and bluffs are shaped by landslides and that's going to continue happening far into the future."

Montgomery says there are some methods for mitigation, but they vary dependent on landscape.

"There's lots of different engineering methods can help reduce both the potential for a landslide and also potential for loss of life from landslide," Montgomery said. "It's context dependent. It depends on: how steep is the slope, what's the slope made out of, has the base been undercut by a road or excavation for a yard for example."

Montgomery says that while the city of Seattle, King County and state of Washington have mapped zones of concern, it's difficult to predict which places are going to fail in which storms.

"Certain areas are at a high risk of landsliding, but not every area is going to go in every big storm," Montgomery said. "They tend to go one here, one there, one over there."

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