For the eighth consecutive year, people who live and work in the city of Pacific along the White River will have additional flood protection this flood season, thanks to a temporary flood barrier that will soon be in place.
King County is scheduled to begin work on Monday, Oct. 9, to close the gaps in the temporary barrier at Pacific Park that provides increased flood protection to Pacific.
The work is funded by the King County Flood Control District, and the barriers, known as HESCOs, are provided by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. HESCO installation is expected to take three or four days, and residents can expect truck traffic, large equipment and crews working within construction areas.
“Even though we’ve had a dry summer, it’s important to be looking ahead to the quickly approaching flood season,” said Reagan Dunn, chair of the Flood Control District. “Installing HESCOs will provide greater protection for the residents and businesses in the City of Pacific. I would encourage anyone who lives in a floodplain to check out the King County Flood Control District website for more resources about how to prepare for the upcoming flood season.”
“As our rainy season becomes longer and wetter, it is more important than ever that we are proactive when it comes to protecting our most vulnerable neighborhoods,” said Flood District Supervisor Pete von Reichbauer. “Until the permanent flood protection project is complete, taking these steps to erect temporary barriers will help keep our community safe from any White River overflow.”
Installing the temporary flood barrier requires the closure of Pacific Park along the White River. The park will remain closed to all public access until the seasonal flood threat has passed and the HESCO barrier has been removed in the spring.
The White River is notorious for the high sediment load it carries from its glacial source on Mount Rainier. The river segment alongside Pacific is particularly vulnerable to gravel deposition and rapidly changing conditions because of the natural drop in channel gradient through this area. As the channel fills with sediment, the chance the riverbank will overtop increases.
Work is underway to develop a second permanent flood protection project on the right bank of the White River extending from the BNSF Railway embankment to Government Canal. The Flood Control District will be evaluating project alternatives in 2018.
The right bank project, combined with the Countyline Levee Setback Project that is scheduled for completion this month, will reconnect more than 120 acres of floodplain to the river channel, giving the river room to fan out and deposit sediment.
Residents can learn more about how they can prepare for flooding, including the use of sandbags to protect their property, by visiting kingcountyfloodcontrol.org.