WHATCOM COUNTY, Wash. — As of November 24th, Whatcom County Public Works Director Jon Hutchings said 63 county roads needed repairs due to flood damage and 10 were considered substantially damaged.
Public Works officials announced Friday, December 4th, that repairs were planned or underway for 9 of the impacted roads in order to get them reopened and they provided details regarding how and when that may happen for each.
Storm damage to the lower Nooksack River Marine Drive Levee will cause Slater Road and Marine Drive to flood faster and require closing for longer periods during future high water and flooding events.
The County is working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Washington State Department of Emergency Management to evaluate options for either repairing the levee or installing temporary structures to mitigate the closure of these two roadways during future high-water events.
A 12-foot culvert failed where California Creek passes below Birch Bay-Lynden Road just east of Ham Road washing out a 40-foot section of the road.
Whatcom County has begun design work and coordination with affected utilities and the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife to complete an emergency culvert replacement project. Permanent repairs will occur at a later date. Officials anticipate that the emergency culvert repairs will be completed, and the road reopened for public access by late December 2021 or early January 2022.
A log jam that developed during the mid-November flood event caused Porter Creek to overflow its banks and flow across Mosquito Lake Road at the bridge over Porter Creek damaging the approach and adjacent roadway.
The log jam has been removed and repairs are underway on the bridge approach and roadway. Anticipated reopening of Mosquito Lake Road at this location is by Friday, Dec. 10.
A half-mile section of S Pass Road was closed approximately northeast of the N Pass Road intersection on Monday, November 29th due to “excessive slide activity and pavement upheaval at two locations.”
The County hired a geotechnical firm to review the damage site on Nov. 30; officials are waiting for the firm’s recommendations on both temporary repairs to open the roadway in some capacity, as well as the proposed permanent repair. Currently, there is no estimate of when this road will reopen for public access.
Goshen Road was closed west of Roberts Road during the mid-November storm due to the failure of a steep slope along the north side which resulted in significant damage to the roadway.
Whatcom County is working with a geotechnical engineer to assess options for repairs. Prior to this event, design work was already underway for the replacement of the Goshen Road Anderson Creek Bridge No. 248 which is located just east of this damage site. Attempts will be made to complete this repair work in a way that is well-coordinated with this future bridge replacement project. Currently there is no estimate for when the road will reopen for public access, but the County is aware of the importance of this roadway section and will expedite repairs as possible.
Drayton Harbor Road was closed at the Shintaffer Road intersection after the shoreline slope began eroding towards the beach and much of the bank undercut from wave action.
The undercutting in Drayton Harbor on the toe of the road fill, coupled with heavy rains saturating the slope, initiated a slide failure. Whatcom County is working with a geotechnical engineer to examine the condition and safety of the slope. The goal would be to open the road to single lane traffic as soon as safety and slope stability permit. Final repairs will follow, but this project is a lower priority based on traffic volumes and other repair sites.
A section of Beach Avenue between Cedar Avenue and Aiston Creek Toad was closed after recent flooding eroded roadway shoulders, undercut the asphalt roadway and washed out the road’s base.
County maintenance crews are scheduled to begin repair work the week of Dec. 6. Crews will clear sediment from plugged culverts, remove debris from the roadway and hazard trees, and repair the roadway to establish a temporary one-way, alternating traffic lane to restore limited access for emergency and service vehicles. Residents with passenger vehicles are encouraged to continue using Berry Way/Aiston Creek Road (both private roads) to access their residences south of the Beach Avenue closure.
Silver Lake Road was closed 5 miles north of Maple Falles after a slide push Maple Creek over the road during the mid-November storm.
The County is working with geotechnical engineers, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and adjacent property owners to determine short- and long-term repairs for this slide. Discussions are being expedited to resolve the water issues and open Silver Lake Road as soon as possible. Please use alternate routes and stay clear of this area if you are not a local resident.
North Fork Road was closed to the public 2 miles north of Mosquito Lake Road due to a washed out a section of road.
Stabilization work on North Fork Road is underway. The actively failing slope has claimed a large section of existing roadway. Our contractor crews have installed an emergency access road for construction and local residents only. This temporary road is located on private property and therefore not for public access. Violations of this restriction are subject to fines. The contractor has started excavation to begin placing larger rock to armor the toe of the failing slope. The majority of rock placement will begin the week of Dec. 6. Currently there is no estimate of when this road will reopen for public access.
In addition to the County’s information, Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) said Thursday, December 2nd, they were waiting for floodwaters to recede in order to determine the extent of repairs needed to reopen both lanes of the Everson Road (SR544) bridge over the Nooksack River.
To date, crews have been able to identify that floodwaters washed out a section of the pedestrian pathway and shoulder just west of the north fork of the Nooksack River bridge. Additionally, contractor crews need to repair damage to an overflow structure and headwall along the highway. There is a temporary signal at milepost 7.62 and flaggers are directing traffic during daylight hours to support the city of Everson’s recovery.