- Associated Press - Friday, September 12, 2014

OSO, Wash. (AP) - The cleanup work is nearly complete at the mudslide that killed 43 people and wiped out four-dozen Oso homes on March 22 along the North Fork Stillaguamish River.

Friday was the last day for debris removal, and the heavy machinery and construction trailers were moving off the site.

About 200,000 cubic yards of material have been sifted and searched. Personal belongings have been returned to families. Hazardous materials have been removed, The Daily Herald reported Friday (http://bit.ly/1tPBliw ).

More than 95 percent of the dirt and rock from the slide has been redistributed on the site, said Matt Zybas, the Snohomish County solid waste director who helped coordinate the work.

About 35 acres have been reseeded with grass and wildflowers that are expected to help hold the soil by the time winter rains return. The chalky green hydro seed coating gave the ground an otherworldly look Thursday, like a blanket had been draped over the land.

Tree scraps have been ground into mulch, and only a few large trunks remain on the field.

The total cost of debris removal is being calculated. The bills for contractors earlier were estimated at $12.5 million, Zybas said. The county expects to be reimbursed by the federal government.

Meanwhile, repair work on Highway 530 is expected to wrap up by the end of the month, Transportation Department spokesman Travis Phelps said.

“We’re working fast and furious” to complete paving, he said.

In some places, the new two-lane highway is 20 feet higher than the previous road, Phelps said.

Massive amounts of rock, plus newer, larger culverts, have been put into place to prevent flooding this winter from the river that also was altered by the landslide.

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Information from: The Daily Herald, http://www.heraldnet.com

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