Friday, December 04, 2009

RAMP Meeting Highlights Winter Flood Preparations

In light of last year’s winter storms that resulted in miles of road closures and thousands of dollars of lost revenue, Pierce County and WSDOT are planning for the worst case scenario this year. Flooding of the Puyallup, Carbon, White and Nisqually Rivers is a constant concern of the adjacent communities. Pierce County’s Surface Water Management Division developed a map describing the impacts of 100 year flood events, which have been occurring more frequently.

Flooding of the Puyallup River is of particular concern to the Port of Tacoma, the cities of Sumner and Fife and the thousands of commuters and freight service companies that depend on I-5 access daily. Pierce County estimates that the levies on the lower Puyallup River require $150 million in capital investments. The potential financial impact of Puyallup flooding is estimated to cost the community $1.3 billion.

In response, Pierce County has established the Puyallup River Basin Executive Taskforce. The aim of the taskforce, comprised of a diverse group of stakeholders, is to develop a plan and a funding strategy to minimize the impacts flooding along the Puyallup River.

Similarly, WSDOT has developed solutions to two major flooding problems in Pierce County. In Sumner, along Traffice Ave. near by storm water pipes were retrofitted to more effectively drain roadway run off. Near SR. 161 the banks of the Mashel River were armored to prevent erosion and minimize flooding.

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