Heavy rain caused flooding on several Kent streets Thursday and Friday and caused the closure Friday, Oct. 29, of Mill Creek Middle School by the Kent School District.
Although East James Street reopened by later Friday morning, except for one lane, rain on Thursday evening led to the closure of the street in both directions between between Central Avenue and 94th Avenue South due to water over the roadway. Mill Creek Middle School is on the southeast corner of East James Street and Central Avenue.
The city of Kent has completed several projects over the last few years to reduce flooding along James Street and Central Avenue, including a $2.3 million pump station and $9 million of improvements at the Upper Mill Creek Dam.
“The Mill Creek area has a tendency to flood during extended periods of rain, but recent improvements to the Upper Mill Creek Dam have reduced flows and have increased storage volume significantly,” according to a city of Kent statement on Oct. 27. “Improvements have also been made to our pump stations, including the one on James Street, which has increased our drainage capacity.”
The city also plans to dredge Mill Creek, but that project will cost an estimated $20 million. City leaders had hoped to start the dredging in 2020, but the permit process has delayed the project. City leaders also must figure out how to pay for it, with a large portion expected to come from the city’s storm drainage fee paid by residents and businesses.
Other streets that remained closed, as of 11 a.m. Friday, included:
• W Smith St between Washington Ave and 64th Ave S
• 76th Ave S between the 22000 block and the 22200 block
• 83rd Ave S at S 228th St
• 144th Ave SE between SE 279th Pl and SE 282nd St
• E James St between Central and 94th Ave S has water over the far right lane heading eastbound