Pierce County to resume Puyallup River flood mitigation project

Pierce County residents and Foothills Trail users can learn about the next phase of construction on a Puyallup River side channel near Orting at an informal community meeting this weekend.

Pierce County will resume work on a side channel that will reconnect the historic Puyallup River floodplain, which will aim to reduce flooding and provide salmon habitat, according to Pierce County officials. Construction is anticipated to start in July.

“While we build this side channel, soon to be the longest on the Puyallup River, we want to be good neighbors and minimize construction impacts to residents, State Route 162 users, and trail users,” said Pierce County Public Works and Utilities Surface Water Manager Harold Smelt. “Side channels provide additional flood storage as well as rearing and spawning habitat for salmon.”

Construction on the side channel on the west side of the Puyallup River began last summer when crews built a 2,000-foot long section. This summer, the contractor will build a 1,200-foot section of the side channel, install engineered log jams, and construct a perimeter access road. The final phase of the project is anticipated to be completed next year, when all phases of the side channel will connect together and to the Puyallup River. This phase of construction is funded with a $1,044,000 Floodplain by Design grant from the Washington State Department of Ecology and $49,768 in Real Estate Excise Tax funding from Pierce County.

Once the work resumes, construction trucks will access the project site on South Fork Road, which crosses the Foothills Trail just north of the McMillin Trailhead and the State Route 162 bridge over the Puyallup River. Flaggers will direct truck traffic and trail users. Trail users may be stopped for short periods of time while trucks cross over the trail.

Pierce County staff will be available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sat., May 31, at the McMillin Trailhead parking lot to share project information and answer questions. The parking lot is located along the Foothills Trail at approximately 140th Street East and State Route 162, just south of the bridge over the Puyallup River.

More information is available online at piercecountywa.org/southfork.