Work to shore up unstable hillside might snarl traffic on Route 18 near Auburn starting Friday

Efforts to shore up a hillside susceptible to a landslide will mean lane restrictions on state Route 18 east of Auburn starting Friday (Nov. 11).

Construction crews working for the state Department of Transportation will close one of the two lanes of westbound highway just east of the Green River Bridge from 7 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Tuesday.

With nearly 27,000 vehicles per day using that stretch of road, the Transportation Department is warning of delays. Traffic could be delayed up to an hour Monday afternoon, the department said. Shorter delays are predicted for the other days.

Crews need the space to stabilize a nearby hillside that was the cite of a landslide in November 2015. The hillside is not at risk of sliding again, but state engineers are worried that another prolonged stretch of wet weather could trigger a slide, the Transportation Department said.

Workers will use an excavator with a 72-foot-long arm to remove loose soil and build terraces on the hillside, which then will be covered with rocks.

The work depends on decent weather, so heavy rains might cause a postponement.

Adam Lynn: 253-597-8644, @TNTAdam