July 3, 2002
Riverbank excavation project designed to relieve
chronically flooded City of Snoqualmie
King County Executive Ron Sims today recommended reducing the chronic and hazardous flooding of homes and businesses in and around the Snoqualmie community through a construction project with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, King County and the City of Snoqualmie.
“Helping the Snoqualmie community reduce flood risks is an important project for King County,” said Sims. “Not only does flooding in the area cause economic damages that average more than $1.6 million per year, but the depth and scale of the flooding represents a serious public health and safety hazard.”
The Snoqualmie 205 Flood Reduction Project would involve riverbank excavation above Snoqualmie Falls, essentially reducing a bottleneck in the river channel. During high river flows, the bottleneck consistently contributes to water backing up and flooding hundreds of homes and businesses within and around the City of Snoqualmie.
The Corps estimates the project will prevent damages of an estimated $837,000 per year that would otherwise have to be paid out for flood damage. More importantly, said Sims, the project will provide significant public health and safety benefits by reducing the frequency, duration and depth of flood water. The Corps has identified more than 650 flood-prone structures in the Snoqualmie area, including three public schools, eight churches, 39 commercial structures, 25 mobile homes and 577 houses.
King County authorization would help secure federal funding for the project. Construction would begin in 2003.
"This project will present us with an opportunity to significantly reduce the amount of flooding and damage from that flooding in the historical downtown area of the city," said Snoqualmie Mayor Fuzzy Fletcher.
“The citizens who have suffered from repeated flood losses will be the biggest winners upon completion of the Corps 205 project. It's not coincidental that the National Flood Insurance Program has paid more claims in the City of Snoqualmie than in any other Washington city."
The project includes a Downstream Assistance Program as mitigation for downstream property owners. The program would offer a cost share to all downstream property owners who will agree to raise their homes above 100-year flood levels.
Cost of the flood control project is estimated at $3.83 million dollars, of which the Corps would contribute $2.22 million. King County would contribute $894,000, and the City of Snoqualmie $717,000.
Flood depths in Snoqualmie River are dominated by hydraulic conditions in the straight, narrow and rocky quarter-mile length of river channel immediately above Snoqualmie Falls. Excavations in the small area are expected to reduce flood depths throughout the community upstream. The Corps proposal is to widen the two narrowest portions of the quarter-mile length, and remove a failing railroad bridge that spans only half the river.
For more information, please contact Rivers Section Senior Engineer Tom Bean, at 206-296-8377. Project information is also available for review on the King County Web site at dnr.metrokc.gov/wlr/flood/205/205.htm.
Updated: July 3, 2002
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