Saturday, April 8, 2017

Swift Creek Landslide and Creek Update

The Swift Creek landslide  continues to present challenges to Whatcom County Public Works (Click on the tag at the bottom of this post to get all the previous posts). The bridge at Oat Coles Road has been removed. The bridge was removed to prevent it from being damaged and to minimize the flooding that would be caused by the bridge causing a blockage of the sediment filled creek. The County is planning to put a one lane bridge with a control light to allow access for local traffic.

Flood waters can cause problems, but at Swift Creek the problem is even worse because the sediment carried by the creek contains asbestos form minerals. Hence, the effort to minimize the flood potential. The bridge is located nearly 2 miles from the landslide.

Swift Creek with landslide area outlined in red

Dredge spoils on both sides of the creek viewed from the north

It is hard to capture the scale of this problem. And it is a problem that will not be going away. The slide shows little sign of stopping. Linneman (2016) estimates that the main body of the slide is moving at 2 to 4 meters/year.

The Washington State Senate has included $5.5 in its current budget for Swift Creek. Two years ago the money was in that State Budget proposal but got pulled at the last minute by the local State Senator Doug Ericksen in favor of directing money elsewhere. The budget process is not over for the state, but for Whatcom County the news is so far good.   


Cris said...

>> state budget <<

Unfortunately, as of Wednesday (April 5) state budget news for Whatcom County is NOT so good. The $5.5M appropriation for work on Swift Creek was excluded from the House version of the state capital budget. This is a reversal from two years ago when the measure was part of the House capital budget but then, as you point out, removed from the Senate version. As a result, the appropriation was not included in the completed FY 2015-17 state budget.

The legislative session is not over, however. A final capital budget remains to be negotiated and it's possible the appropriation could be revisited/replaced. Support for the measure from local District 42 legislators might influence this.

Dan McShane said...

Thanks for the update!