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The original item was published from 12/3/2021 6:06:00 PM to 12/3/2021 6:58:01 PM.

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Public Works - News

Posted on: December 3, 2021

[ARCHIVED] Emergency repair work underway on Whatcom County roads

Flooding from a series of storms in November did significant damage to our county road system. We have been assessing the damage, and work is underway on emergency repairs. We will continue to share updates as these repair projects progress. 

We recognize these closures cause delays, backups, and inconveniences. These closures are for public safety. Repairs are planned or already underway to reopen roads as soon as possible. Please be patient and kind to other drivers and repair crews during this difficult time.

Marine Dr Levee Breach 12-3-21 resized

Marine Drive Levee breach.

Slater Road and Marine Drive – Slater Road closed due to high water between the BNSF tracks and Nooksack River Bridge; Marine Drive is closed due to high water between Rural Road and Lummi Shore Drive.


These two sites are related. Storm damage to the lower Nooksack River Marine Drive levee will cause these two locations to flood faster, with greater frequency, and take longer to reopen during future high water and flood events.  We are working with the US Army Corps of Engineers and the Washington State Department of Emergency Management to evaluate options for either repairing the levee or installing temporary structures to mitigate the closure of these two roadways during future high water events.  Of the two, Slater Road is the higher priority roadway for reopening.

BBL Rd Failure resized

Birch Bay Lynden Road - photo shows guardrail hanging in the air above California Creek.

 Birch Bay Lynden Road – closed just east of Ham Road

During the November 14-15 storm event, the 12-foot culvert for California Creek failed, washing out an entire 40-foot section of Birch Bay Lynden Road (photo shows guardrail hanging in the air above California Creek).  Whatcom County has begun design work and coordination with affected utilities and the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife to complete an emergency culvert replacement project. Permanent repairs will occur at a later date.  We anticipate that the emergency culvert repairs will be completed and the road reopened for public access by late December 2021 or early January 2022.

MLR at Porter Crk resizedMosquito Lake Road bridge approach damage.

Mosquito Lake Road – closed approximately 4.75 miles east of State Route 542 (Mt. Baker Highway)

During the November 14-15 storm event, a significant log jam developed extending approximately 150-feet upstream of the Mosquito Lake Road Porter Creek Bridge (Whatcom County Bridge No. 141).  Due to the severity of the log jam, Porter Creek jumped its banks and flowed across Mosquito Lake Road. This caused damage to the bridge approach and adjacent roadway.  The log jam has been removed and repairs are underway on the bridge approach and roadway.  We anticipate reopening Mosquito Lake Road at this location by Friday, December 10. 

S.Pass first site failure resizedSlide activity and pavement upheaval on South Pass Road.

South Pass Road – closed approximately 0.2 miles northeast of North Pass Road intersection for 0.5 miles

This northern Whatcom County East-West link was closed on Monday, November 29 due to excessive slide activity and pavement upheaval at two locations over one-half mile of road.  We had a geotechnical firm review the damage site on November 30 are are waiting for their recommendations on both temporary repairs to open the roadway in some capacity, as well as the proposed permanent repair.  Currently there is no estimate of when this road will reopen for public access.

Goshen Rd resized

Goshen Road damage. 

Goshen Road – closed approximately 500-feet west of Roberts Road

During the November 14-15 storm event, a steep slope along the north side of Goshen Road failed, resulting in significant damage to the adjacent roadway.  Whatcom County is working with a geotechnical engineer to assess options for repairs.  Prior to this event design work was already underway for the replacement of the Goshen Road Anderson Creek Bridge No. 248 which is located just east of this damage site.  Attempts will be made to complete this repair work in a way that is well-coordinated with this future bridge replacement project.  Currently there is no estimate for when the road will reopen for public access, but we are aware of the importance of this roadway section and will expedite repairs when we can.


Drayton resized

Slide failure on Drayton Harbor Road

Drayton Harbor Road – closed at Shintaffer Road


Drayton Harbor Road is closed at the Shintaffer Road intersection because the shoreline slope is eroding towards the beach. Much of the bank has been undercut from wave action. The undercutting, in Drayton Harbor on the toe of the road fill, and coupled with heavy rains saturating the slope, has initiated a slide failure.  Whatcom County is working with a geotechnical engineer to examine the condition and safety of the slope.  The goal would be to open the road to single lane traffic as soon as safety and slope stability permit.  Final repairs will follow, but this project is a lower priority based on traffic volumes and other repair sites.

Beach Ave_1 resized

 Severe erosion of Beach Avenue on Lummi Island

Beach Avenue / Lummi Island – closed between Cedar Ave and Aiston Creek Road (private road)

On Lummi Island, approximately 250 feet of Beach Avenue has been impacted by recent flooding events with severe erosion of roadway shoulders, undercutting of asphalt travel lanes, and washout of roadway’s structural base. Our maintenance crews are scheduled to begin repair work the week of December 6. They will clear sediment from plugged culverts, remove debris from the roadway and hazard trees, and repair the roadway to establish a temporary one-way, alternating traffic lane to restore limited access for emergency and service vehicles.  Residents with passenger vehicles are encouraged to continue using Berry Way/Aiston Creek Road (both private roads) to access their residences south of the Beach Avenue closure.  We had a geotechnical engineer examine the site on December 2 and are waiting for the safety and repair recommendations to assist our maintenance crew with temporary repairs and develop a permanent roadway repair plan for evaluation.

Silver Lk Rd resized

Silver Lake Road slide damage.

Silver Lake Road – closed 5 miles north of Maple Falls

During the November 14-15 storm event, a large slide realigned Maple Creek over Silver Lake Road approximately five miles north of Maple Falls. We are working with geotechnical engineers, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and adjacent property owners to determine short and long term repairs for this slide. Discussions are being expedited to resolve the water issues and open Silver Lake Road as soon as possible. Please use alternate routes, and stay clear of this area if you are not a local resident.

North Fork resizedNorth Fork Road failing slope.

North Fork Road – closed to the public 2 miles north of Mosquito Lake Road, private access for local residents only.

Stabilization work on North Fork Road, approximately two miles north of Mosquito Lake Road, is underway. The actively failing slope has claimed a large section of existing roadway. Our contractor crews have installed an emergency access road for construction and local residents only.  This temporary road is located on private property and therefore not for public access. Violations of this restriction are subject to fines. The contractor has started excavation to begin placing larger rock to armor the toe of the failing slope. The majority of rock placement will begin the week of December 6.  Currently there is no estimate of when this road will reopen for public access.

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