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Road project to re-route Lake Alice traffic through Snoqualmie Ridge | Public meeting is tonight

A collapsing culvert under Lake Alice Road is the reason for two planned closures of the county-owned roadway in the next year. One of the closures is targeted for later this month, and will last a couple of weeks. The main event, though, will be next summer, and will likely last most of the season.

The two closures are part of the same project, and will require King County another way out of their neighborhood for the 200 or so residents in the Lake Alice community.

"We talked about a few of the alternatives," said Paulette Norman with the King County Roads Division, at a public meeting held last week to review the project with area residents. Another meeting is set for tonight, 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers of Snoqualmie City Hall.

There are several options for routing traffic from Lake Alice through Snoqualmie, but Norman said "the one that's really the feasible option for detouring the Lake Alice residents is the Sorenson Street route."

Members of the Lake Alice Community Association, in working with the county, expressed a preference for a detour onto a power-line road owned by Puget Sound Energy. They proposed a single-lane rough road to discourage drivers who didn't have to use that road for access. That option, county staff members felt, was too expensive, requiring easement arrangements with at least five parties and a significant stretch of road work.

Connecting Southeast Sorenson Street to Lake Alice Road, however, would require only about 20 feet of road work, paving, signs and other maintenance they said, at an estimated cost of $30,000. From Sorenson, traffic would be routed to Douglas Avenue Southeast.

County staff are working with Snoqualmie and school district staff to minimize the impact to both communities, while ensuring access for school and emergency vehicles.

The reason for the double-closure is the season, explained Project Manager Mike O'Neil.

"Everything right now is fine," he said, but "The culvert is, gosh, almost 100 years old. It clearly is collapsing…. If it fails, we have some real concerns about what would happen downstream."

Several homes, and David Powell Road lie directly in the path of the potential torrent that could be unleashed if the 48-inch culvert collapses and water backs up to overflow Lake Alice Road. O'Neil said the potential volume of water rushing down could be 40,000 to 80,000 gallons of water.

"If we control it there's not going to be much of a problem," he added.

Control, at least for the winter when the flows are higher, will be a 30-inch overflow pipe, installed about 10 feet below the road surface. This overflow pipe should be installed later this month, and is estimated to take about two weeks to complete. During that time, the affected area of Lake Alice Road will be closed.

Once school is out and conditions are safe enough to begin large-scale excavation next summer, road crews will dig down to the old culvert, about 110 feet long, and remove it. Its replacement is 10-foot high, 60-foot wide concrete box culvert that will continue to provide fish passage and, O'Neil hoped, a wildlife underpass that animals can use to safely avoid the roadway above.

For more information on the project, visit www.kingcounty.gov/LakeAliceRoad.

 

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