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Update: October 25, 2018

In 2019/2020, the King County Road Services Division will perform roadway preservation repairs and drainage improvements along approximately three (3) miles of NE Old Cascade Highway that was damaged by a storm in 2011. This storm created flooding, changed the course of the East Fork Miller River and washed out approximately 160 linear feet of NE Old Cascade Highway, resulting in the permanent closure of the historic Miller River Bridge #999W to vehicular traffic.

King County Road Services Division is planning on constructing the following improvements:

  • Construct a new cul-de-sac turnaround on the west side of the East Fork Miller River on NE Old Cascade Highway at Miller River Road NE
  • Construct a new hammerhead shaped turnaround on the east side of the East Fork Miller River on NE Old Cascade Highway
  • Remove the short span Cascade Scenic Highway Bridge #999X over a tributary stream as well as its east and west approaches between Miller River Rd NE and the East Fork Miller River
  • Replace six culverts
  • Stabilize a steep slope/slide area
  • Improve approximately 3,300 linear feet of roadside ditches
  • Repair, chip-and-seal approximately three miles of the entire roadway

Map of the upcoming culvert work

Culvert work map.
Culvert work map

Contact us

Brent Champaco, Community Relations Planner
Desk 206-477-9094
Cell 206-573-4267
Email

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Frequently-asked questions

What is the purpose of the upcoming roadway and drainage improvements on NE Old Cascade Highway?

This project focuses on necessary roadway and drainage improvements to preserve the remaining road segments. The work complies with all current standards and codes related to roadway infrastructure maintenance for the traveling public and regulations related to mitigating for environmental impacts. A variety of needed improvements will be made to the roadway. Together, the work will increase safety for current users and maintain a reliable access to the area homeowners/residents:

  • Construct a new cul-de-sac turnaround on the west side of the East Fork Miller River on NE Old Cascade Highway at Miller River Road NE
  • Construct a new hammerhead-shaped turnaround on the east side of the East Fork Miller River on NE Old Cascade Highway
  • Remove the short span Cascade Scenic Highway Bridge #999X over a tributary stream as well as its east and west approaches between Miller River Road NE and the East Fork Miller River. This project does not impact the historic steel truss Miller River Bridge #999W.
  • Remove roadway debris from the Type F (fish-bearing) East Fork Miller River, remove 1,156 linear feet asphalt/concrete roadway, and provide native planting on the eastbound lane
  • Replace six undersized deteriorating culverts
  • Stabilize a steep slope/slide area
  • Improve approximately 3,300 linear feet of roadside ditches
  • Repair, chip-and-seal approximately three miles of the entire roadway

During construction, existing native vegetation within the project area will be temporarily disturbed or removed. These areas will be replanted with native species and cover measures to ensure stabilization during the first growing season after construction is complete. The project also proposes to restore previously paved areas by removing paving and fill and providing amended soils and native planting.

How is the project funded?

The funding is from the Federal Emergency Management Agency's, or FEMA's, Public Assistance grant program. The total project cost is estimated to be $4.5 million. King County can only use the FEMA grant funds for the approved scope-of-work agreed to with FEMA to improve the existing roadway and drainage system on NE and West Old Cascade Highway.

Why isn’t King County replacing the Miller River Bridge #999W?

A storm in 2011 caused flooding to the East Fork Miller River, which changed its course, resulting in the east road approach to the bridge being washed out. The County worked with FEMA to analyze many alternatives. Due to the wide riverine alluvial fan upstream and the channel migration of the river, a new bridge with multiple spans would be needed to be built on a new horizontal alignment across the new river channel.

There are many deficiencies associated with the present bridge and alignment as follows:

  • The 228-foot-long, 16-foot 9-inch wide bridge was built in 1922; it is structurally deficient, functionally obsolete and load limited with a posted vertical clearance. The bridge was painted with lead-based paint.
  • The approach trestle was built on creosote-treated timber piles and is also at the end of its useful life. The piles collect debris during floods causing risk to the structure.
  • The bridge is vulnerable to scour and seismic activity as it is founded on spread footing. It will be vulnerable to washing out from future channel migration.
  • The existing horizontal alignment is substandard.

FEMA will only approve a budget to fund a new bridge to span 185 feet over the newly formed river channel on the same alignment. Building this new structure with all of the other deficiencies as mentioned above is not the best use of public funds. A proper scope that will meet today’s standards resulted in a conceptual design on a new alignment with 1,140 feet of structure required to span the migration zone of the river with an estimated cost of approximately $20 million. Due to lack of matching funds, FEMA allowed King County to determine alternate projects to improve the roads and structures that will be isolated due to the washout.

The $4.5 million for the roadway improvements and drainage maintenance from FEMA cannot be saved for a different project; the funds are “use it or lose it.” King County would not otherwise be able to afford this roadway preservation project. If funding were to become available in the future to replace the Miller River Bridge #999W, the issue would be reviewed and the King County Council would need to authorize budget for matching funds.

What is the purpose of the cul-de-sac and hammerhead? Won’t this encourage people to park, litter, and camp illegally in this area?

The purpose of the cul-de-sac and hammerhead design at the end of the roadway segments is to provide adequate space for emergency vehicles to turn around.

Campers and biohazards within road right-of-way is a countywide issue. The Solid Waste Division of King County offers litter clean-up and illegal dumping services. Complaints can be made by phone at 206-296-7483 or online.

Please report illegal parking, speeding, and camping in the King County right-of-way to the King County Sheriff’s Office.

For other needs within the county right of way (e.g., maintenance, traffic signs, etc.) please contact our 24/7 Road Helpline at 206-477-8100 (1-800-527-6237, 1-800-KC-ROADS).

Why wasn’t an Environmental Impact Statement, or EIS, prepared for this project?

FEMA, the lead federal agency for this project, reviewed the project proposal and potential impacts and determined it did not have substantial impacts to require an EIS. FEMA determined the project is Categorically Excluded and this is being documented under the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA. Under the State Environmental Policy Act, or SEPA, the lead agency is the King County Road Services Division, or Roads. Roads reviewed the project’s impacts and determined the project did not require an EIS based on lack of substantial impacts and the proposed mitigation measures that will be implemented during construction. Roads issued a Determination of Nonsignificance for the project under SEPA. The project’s SEPA Environmental Checklist is available online for more information.

What is the schedule for the work and when will it be completed?

Project construction is dependent on acquisition of permits, approvals, and property easements that are anticipated to be completed in 2019/2020. Some work will be constructed by a Contractor and some work will be completed by King County RSD crews to minimize the duration of construction. Timing for work within critical areas will be limited to what is allowed per the project’s permit and approval conditions. Mitigation planting for unavoidable impacts to site vegetation will generally occur in the fall or winter following construction.

Where can I learn more about the Roadway and Drainage Improvements Project on NE Old Cascade Highway?

Additional information can be found on the Road Services Division Capital Improvement Program, or CIP, website: