Local

Oat Coles Road near Swift Creek to be closed indefinitely

Steve Weaver and Roland Middleton, of Whatcom County Public Works, at the bridge over Swift Creek on Oat Coles Road on Nov. 30, 2016.
Steve Weaver and Roland Middleton, of Whatcom County Public Works, at the bridge over Swift Creek on Oat Coles Road on Nov. 30, 2016. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

Oat Coles Road at the bridge over Swift Creek will be closed indefinitely starting Wednesday. Detour signs will be posted for drivers.

The closure is part of an ongoing effort to deal with the creek, which flows from its origin on Sumas Mountain.

Silt, heavy metals and naturally occurring asbestos flow in the creek from a landslide on the mountain.

Recent and heavy rainfall has caused water to pond on the road and sediment in the lower reaches of the creek to rise until it had reached the bottom of the bridge. As a result, the next significant rainfall could cause Swift Creek to leave its channel, according to Whatcom County Public Works.

That would leave deposits in ditches along the side of the road and inundate adjacent properties.

To prevent that, Public Works will remove the bridge’s deck.

That, in turn, means the closure could last for two or more years, depending on a decision about a new bridge as well as a long-term plan for managing the sediment.

For more on the road closure and bridge deck removal, call bridge/hydraulic manager James Lee at 360-778-6210.

Kie Relyea: 360-715-2234, @kierelyea

  Comments