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SR 26 bridge repair will force detour for early season games

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The bridge over railroad tracks just west of the US 395 interchange is in desperate need of repairs and will force the highway to close.

NCAA Football: Stanford at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

If your route to God’s County for those great late summer and early fall football weekends begins in Seattle, pack some patience for the first three games of the year.

The Washington State Department of Transportation is closing State Route 26 because of a rapidly deteriorating bridge over the train tracks just west of the interchange with US 395. The agency had originally planned to replace the bridge in early 2019 but technicians recommended against allowing the bridge to go through another brutal eastern Washington winter without repair. Now, I’m not much of a bridge engineer but I am, uh, inclined to agree with them.

That means the road shuts down in the middle of next month with the WSDOT expecting the repairs to run for at least six weeks and the road being reopened in early to mid-October.

So, at the very least, drivers from west of the mountains will have to find a new route for the games against the San Jose State Spartans, the Eastern Washington Eagles and, most notably, Homecoming against the Utah Utes. Here’s the normal way east for most drivers:

And here’s the detour WSDOT is recommending during the closure.

One small (and by small, I mean possibly huge) problem though: all those turns in a detour that adds about 15 miles to the trip could mean some long, slow moving lines of cars on Friday evening and Sunday early afternoon.

So, instead, we’ve come up with some additional ways to help you around the detour. This one takes you south at Othello, eventually rejoining SR 26 at Dusty.

Or this one, which involves a lot more interstate highway driving that can be done a little more quickly and safely than one-lane highway driving.

Same concept here, just rejoining SR 26 a little earlier.

If you’re looking to swing through beautiful Pasco, Washington and forgot something at your local big box retailer so need to drive right by a WalMart!

You could park at our own Kevin Dudley’s house with this one and he’d probably shuttle you down. I’m sure I’m writing checks he’d be more than willing to cash here.

Of course, if you have more school spirit than anyone else and a car that can go more than 500 miles on a single tank of gas, you could always just use the road closure as an excuse to do this.

Let me know what beautiful St. John, Washington is like.