Rising waters

Posted by Ken Campbell January 8, 2009 0 Comment 401 views

Neah Bay is cut off once again. Highway 112, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation, is “closed to traffic in both directions from milepost 12 to milepost 13 and from milepost 23 to milepost 29 due to flooding. Alternate routes are advised.”

Another alert that caught my attention had to do with Highway 110, the road that winds from Forks to La Push. I was just on that road a few days ago and now, according to WSDOT, it is the site of a “Major flood. All lanes blocked in both directions from LEYENDECKER RD. to COUNTY PARK RD. until further notice.

Aside from the obvious jest about using an alternate route to get to Neah Bay – there are none, not by road, anyway – this is serious news. Rivers all over western Washington are breaking out of their normal channels. The towns of Orting and Fife have been evacuated wholesale, and it sounds as though most of the town of Chehalis (above), has already floated out to sea. For a large number of people, 2009 is already a bad year.

It’s hard to know what the long term effects of these floods will be on the roads of the Olympic peninsula, particularly those that lead into the backcountry. Most of the maintenence budget for these roads will be exhausted quickly and the repairs that are too costly or difficult will very possibly be left undone. More ghost roads, like those at the Dosewallips and Graves Creek, are sure to be the result.

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