KFnet in T-Town

Jan. 7, 2009 at 11:11pm

New Photos: Bridge Log Jam; City Crews Sandbagging

The Puyallup River is raging just east of Tacoma. I went down this afternoon near the Tagro facility to have a look. A large log jam is building on the middle bridge support and is actually causing a bend in the track as of about 3pm (see below). BNSF employees on site seemed surprised and mentioned they weren't going to do anything except wait out the storm and see if the bridge makes it. Other nearby trestles like the Old Milwaukee line also appeared to have large jams building as well. With a stretch of 7 bridges crossing the Puyallup within a mile or so of one another hopefully all will survive intact.

Update (7:01pm)

That same trestle hasn't change shape anymore but the log jam pushing on it has nearly doubled in size since this afternoon. City and railroad crews I talked to mentioned this being classified as an "unprecidented" even as they've been told by various agencies.

The tyes that make up the log guard around the bridge supports also double as measures. A Tagro employee mentioned that earlier the river was up high enough so you could only see two board. This evening it was down to showing three boards. Flooding events they could recall didn't get higher than four boards.

Nearby City crews were filling trucks with sandbags in case they need to hold back the raging Puyallup or even any standing water that's pooling up in low spots (a few of which I had to drive through) there on the Tideflats.

Update (11:11pm)

Rain's still definitely coming down and the city is quiet. Headed back out to the Puyallup where crews were actually out on the trestle with a crane hoping to clear some of the debris. The river has risen a bit since 6:30 or so but nothing too substantial. Seems the log jam against the bridge really didn't get much if any worse. Not nearly as many trees floating down river at the moment.

The slides along the southbound lanes of Schuster were pretty minor and crews were on the scene to scrap up the mud and rocks.

comments [28]  |  posted under flooding, log jam, puyallup river, tacoma


by Jake on 1/7/2009 @ 4:27pm
Just heard I-5 in Fife may be shut down soon.

by seejane on 1/7/2009 @ 5:20pm
I just got this message from the city:

News Release
From the City of Tacoma, Washington

January 6, 2009

Karrie Spitzer, Community Relations, karrie.spitzer@cityoftacoma.org, (253) 591-5790
Rob McNair-Huff, Community Relations, robert.mcnair-huff@cityoftacoma.org, (253) 591-5054

City declares civil emergency due to potential flooding of Puyallup River
The U.S Army Corps of Engineers has predicted the Puyallup River may overflow its banks early Thursday morning. As a result of this prediction, Tacoma’s Mayor Bill Baarsma and City Manager Eric Anderson issued a proclamation that the City of Tacoma is in a state of civil emergency.

The declaration was made based on flooding risks to the City’s Central Wastewater Treatment Plant, which could pose a risk to public health.

The City’s Emergency Operations Center will open at 6 p.m. tonight and will remain open for the duration of the emergency.

The City’s surface water crews have switched to a 24-hour work schedule to attempt to keep the more than 22,000 public storm drains clean in Tacoma. Drains near street corners and in low areas of streets and parking lots are the main concern. Drivers navigating Tacoma’s rain-logged streets or in areas that are prone to slides, such as Schuster Parkway and Marine View Drive, are encouraged to drive with caution. Remember that it is not safe to walk or drive through flooded areas.

For the latest news about potential flooding and street closure information, visit www.cityoftacoma.org or the City’s Twitter feed at www.twitter.com/cityoftacoma. To report stormwater flooding or sewage backups, call (253) 591-5585. To report blockages in the road from flooding, landslides or other debris, call (253) 591- 5495.

by KevinFreitas on 1/7/2009 @ 5:36pm
Wow, thanks seejane. I'm going to head back over near the river to see what's going on. We'll see how close I can get. Hoping all the bridges are in one piece. Stay safe out there everyone!

by fredo on 1/7/2009 @ 6:43pm
Thanks for the updates everybody! Kevin your logjam shots were excellent.

by Jake on 1/7/2009 @ 7:08pm
From King5:
6:56 p.m.: Tacoma Power is keeping an eye on rising river levels and the potential for flooding at the Radiance Housing Development in Fife. If water levels pose a safety threat or could cause extensive damage to the utility's electrical system, Tacoma Power must shut off electrical service to the development with little or no notice.

by KevinFreitas on 1/7/2009 @ 7:14pm
Schuster Parkway is open and merely messy with standing water. Drive slowly and, if you're heading toward downtown, keep an eye out for other mudslides.

by fredo on 1/7/2009 @ 7:18pm
feedTacoma paying off bigtime now.

by KevinFreitas on 1/7/2009 @ 7:19pm
Keep the updates coming folks--big or small--for all to see on the FT homepage. Every little bit of info helps.

by Annie J on 1/7/2009 @ 7:31pm
As far as interstates and state highways go you can call 511 to get the latest information. You can also look online at www.wsdot.wa.gov/News/Update/Pierce_Thur...

by Dave_L on 1/7/2009 @ 7:43pm
Thanks, Annie. Will try to find my way back Tacoma from Sumner/Puyallup area now. City of Fife is calling for voluntary evacuation. www.cityoffife.org/ TNT www.thenewstribune.com/ has a lot of photogs out, too with their Lights and Sirens blog following blogs.thenewstribune.com/crime/ The Pierce County website is trying to keep up with list of closed roads. columbia.co.pierce.wa.us/crisiscom/page6...
A good night for a warm PSP pizza.

by fredo on 1/7/2009 @ 8:03pm
Dave & Annie@ Helpful links, all worked and have good information. My wife will be driving I 5 thru fife at 10:30 tonight (provided it's open). I'll report what she experiences.

by Jake on 1/7/2009 @ 8:07pm
I have heard reports (from my sister :( ) that basements are flooding in the South End area of Tacoma. She says it was knee high.

by ensie on 1/7/2009 @ 8:12pm
Driving home from Buckley was an adventure today. The 410 is closed near Sumner, routing all the traffic through Sumner. Since I've never been to Sumner for any reason, it was a game of follow-the-leader and eventually I ended up in Puyallup. Am wondering if River Road will be open tomorrow as closures on I-5 may prevent me getting to the 18 East...

by KevinFreitas on 1/7/2009 @ 8:22pm
@ensie: Could take 509 out through Federal Way and onto Hwy 18. Might take a while but could avoid a bit of the mess. Hopefully I-5 will be open then.

by Jake on 1/7/2009 @ 8:35pm
509 is pretty landslide prone along the bluff. I would be surprised if they aren't already having problems.

by ensie on 1/7/2009 @ 8:43pm
@Kevin - I thought about that. Of course, that's pending flooding along that route too. While 509 probably won't be bad going into Fife, it may be difficult to get up to Federal Way from there.

by Jake on 1/7/2009 @ 9:03pm
From Twitter:

City has closed McKinley Ave from S 90th St – S 96th St and N. Ferdinand at Waterview Hill for street flooding

City of Tacoma has closed Ruston Way from McCarver Street to Alder Way in Tacoma tonight for street flooding

by ensie on 1/7/2009 @ 9:06pm
From The News Tribune (Lights & Sirens):

It just came over the scanner that there's a mudslide blocking both lanes in the 400 block of South Schuster Parkway in Tacoma, near the grain elevators. Earlier it sounded like water was flowing out of manhole covers in that area.

by Jake on 1/7/2009 @ 9:48pm
City of Tacoma has closed South Orchard Street from South 6th to South 12th tonight for street flooding

by ensie on 1/7/2009 @ 9:51pm
City of Tacoma has closed McKinley Ave from S 90th St – S 96th St and N. Ferdinand at Waterview Hill for street flooding

by fredo on 1/7/2009 @ 11:17pm
I-5 has some lane restrictions in the Fife area but traffic going thru OK. Ruston Way bad.

by Jake on 1/7/2009 @ 11:37pm
City of Tacoma has also announced a closure of Marine View Drive for the rest of the night due to slides

aka Highway 509

by NSHDscott on 1/7/2009 @ 11:56pm
Nice job with the low-light photography.

by Erik on 1/8/2009 @ 12:29am
Great coverage Kevin. I see you have activated the "Forum Blotter" as well.

I-5 by Fife still looks to be open. For now.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 1/8/2009 @ 2:53am
We've got basement flooding from sewer backing up here near UPS. Started around 10 pm.

by KevinFreitas on 1/8/2009 @ 8:33am
Schuster is completely clear this morning but you can see along the hillside where mud slid. Some spots sheared bare are easily 8-10' wide.

by morgan on 1/8/2009 @ 3:12pm
I took a quick swing down to River Road this morning. That's the closest I want to get to a flood. Now I see why it's called River Road- at some points you could look over and the river was *right there* - and some of the properties are underwater- the fireworks stand, a mobile home park. Terry's Berry's looked ok- I saw smoke coming out of their chimney. If the river gets much higher they better make a run for it though.

During my Walk the Waterfront today the tide was higher than I've ever seen. I don't know if it's connected to the rains or not.

Witnessing the raging Puyallup River today makes the case stronger in my mind for reducing suburban development. We need less roads and more permeable surfaces, not the opposite.

by Jim @ PSP on 1/8/2009 @ 8:48pm
Not sure if anyone has seen this, it's WSDOTs flickr account. Pretty awesome collection of photos from the past few days from different affected areas.



Although I have another home on the web I thought it might be nice to lead by example a bit and put this blog system up to the test myself.

So far, so good... Funny how I build web tools for other people that are far better than the one's I have setup over on KFnet.


Hey Clear Channel, Clean Up Your Crap!

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