OSO, Wash. -- The Washington State Department of Transportation is easing restrictions on the one-lane bypass road around the Oso landslide, while reminding people the slide zone is not a tourist attraction.
The bypass route opened up on April 29th, to help Darrington residents dealing with an 80 mile detour around the site of the landslide.
At first, only local traffic was allowed on the steep, narrow road, which includes sections with an 18 percent grade and is not fully paved.
Now, WSDOT is loosening those restrictions in response to feedback from the Darrington community. May 10th and 11th are Play Days at the Rodeo Darrington. May31st is Darrington Day. The popular Darrington Bluegrass Festival is set for July 18th-20th.
At a community meeting held on Tuesday, Darrington residents and organizers of those events expressed interest in allowing people taking part in the festivities to use the bypass route to travel to Darrington.
WSDOT says it is a balancing act, because they want visitors to be able to access Darrington and spend money in Darrington. What the department of transportation doesn't want is tourists or looky-loos making the trip just to get a peek at the slide zone.
People like Amber Jensen and Crysta Coleman, who live in Darrington and drive the bypass road every day, have already seen that happen.
People come through and they stop with their cameras to take pictures of the slide, said Crysta. I can understand you're want to see it, but you're not supposed to stop on this road.
Amber echoed those concerns.
Just be courteous to the Darrington community, I mean, we've already lost so much, she said.
WSDOT stresses that the site is not a tourist attraction.
Come for the support, that's what we need is support, said Crysta.
Also included in the looser restrictions set by WSDOT: vehicles pulling trailers up to 24 feet long and semi tricks up to 33 feet long are now allowed to use the roadway.
Logging trucks that had previously only been allowed to drive the bypass during certain hours can now travel the road at any hour of the day.
You can see all of the rules and restrictions of the bypass here.