After a landslide forced the closure of part of Middle Fork Road (MFR) in mid December, the City of North Bend reported the road may not reopen until mid-summer at the earliest.
On December 20, 2019 torrential rains caused the stream atop a hillside – about 8 miles northeast of the Mailbox Peak Trailhead – to crest its banks and forge a new path, triggering a landslide above and beneath Middle Fork Road.
The road was severely damaged and is currently impassable. The county said in December the slide area poses extreme danger to cars and people on foot or bicycle.
North Bend Deputy City Administrator and Public Works Director Mark Rigos said the King County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) recently provided the city an update regarding the status of the Middle Fork Road closure.
According to the county, the hillside above and adjacent the road is still moving and geotechnical engineering/slope stability analysis is still ongoing. More research is necessary before the county will be able to determine exactly when this section of MFR may reopen, but it will likely be mid-summer – at the earliest – before that happens.
Rigos explained the county currently considers the slow moving landslide at 356th Drive in Fall City a higher priority than Middle Fork Road due to 356th being the sole access road for approximately 55 homes.
Rigos commented, “City of North Bend hopes MFR is able to safely re-open this summer so that the many outdoor enthusiasts can continue to enjoy their recreational passions in that area.”
The slide happened near mile 9.5 of Middle Fork Road, which is the main access to many popular hiking trails in the North Bend area. Note: the south segment of MFR – and access to trailheads in this area – are still open.
See slide location map below.