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Green River Trail in Kent to close – making way for giant sandbags

Example of the sandbags the City of Kent will use to line 12 miles of Green River levees, as seen on display Saturday at the ShoWare Center in Kent, during a public meeting about flood issues. - Charles Cortes, Kent Reporter
Example of the sandbags the City of Kent will use to line 12 miles of Green River levees, as seen on display Saturday at the ShoWare Center in Kent, during a public meeting about flood issues.
— image credit: Charles Cortes, Kent Reporter

In an effort to help prevent flooding in the Green River Valley, the City of Kent will place 20,000 giant sandbags along the Green River levee beginning Oct. 7. The bags will be in place by Nov. 1.

The placement of the approximately 3-foot-square sandbags will require the closure of the Green River Trail, which runs along the top of the nearly 12 miles of levees through Kent.

“To maintain the stability of the levees, the giant sandbags must be placed in the center of trail,” according to Kent Mayor Suzette Cooke.

Trail users should watch for orange “trail closure” signs at major access points. Once the sandbags are in place, the trail will re-open for foot traffic only. “We couldn’t find a safe way to accommodate both foot traffic and cyclists,” Cooke said. “Unfortunately, bicyclists will need to use alternate routes.”

Frager Road between South 200th Street and Washington Avenue/West Valley Highway can be used as an alternate route, while the Interurban Trail between the north and south City limits will also serve north-south bicyclists and pedestrians. East-west access roads will include South 200th/196th, South 212th Street, James and Meeker Streets.

Bicyclists can legally ride on most public streets and sidewalks in the city.

Maps showing suggested detour routes for bicyclists, both commuters and recreational users will be posted on kiosks and on www.choosekent.com.

It is unknown how long the Green River Trail will be restricted. The giant sandbags may remain in place until the Corps has completed repairs to the dam, which could be up to five years.

The Kent Valley is facing a higher risk of flooding this winter due to water seeping more rapidly through an earthen bank next to the Howard Hanson Dam after record high water last winter. Until the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers can make repairs, it must limit the amount of flood water it stores behind the dam.

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