Middle Fork Road severely damaged by recent landslide; closure expected for extended period

On Monday, December 30, 2019, King County road crews were out at the site of a landslide on Middle Fork Road east of North Bend that occurred during heavy rains on December 20th. After the initial assessment, it appears the road will be closed for an extended period.

The Snoqualmie Valley – which typically gets 60% more annual rain than the Seattle area – received nearly 7 inches of rain in an approximate 36 hour period between December 19th – December 20th.

The torrential rain caused the stream atop the hillside next to Middle Fork Road to push over its banks and forge a new path. The fast-moving water triggered land to slide above and underneath the recently-paved Middle Fork Road that opened in 2017 after four years of construction.

King County crews assess Middle Fork Road damage caused by heavy rains on 12/20/19. PC: KC Dept. of Local Services

King County Department of Local Services said a few sections of the road are now severely damaged and un-passable. Additionally, the landslide is considered active, making the hillside alongside the road very unstable, posing extreme danger to cars and people on foot or bicycle.

The slide happened near mile 9.5 of Middle Fork Road, which is the main access to multiple popular hiking trails in the area – this is about 8.5 miles east of the Mailbox Peak trailhead.

County crews say it is very important that no one go past the road closed barricades.

It’s also possible that upcoming winter [wet season] rain storms could cause more damage. As the road is unsafe even for county road crews, they will wait until the dryer spring months to further assess the damage and determine the next steps required for repair.

See video of new path forged by stream:

Area of road closure on Middle Fork Road east of North Bend. PC: KC Dept. of Local Services

Comments

  1. Mike Adamson says

    Always thought it was unnecessary to pave and exploit the Middle Fork to suit population growth and eastward expansion. Good for you Mother Nature.

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