COSMOPOLIS, Wash. - Mill Creek drive in Cosmopolis will remain closed for a couple weeks after flood waters collapsed a culvert under the roadway, displacing enough dirt to make a 12 foot deep whole almost as wide as the two lane road.
Mayor Vickie Raines met with city staff yesterday morning to discuss options "I think we have a good plan in place as far as getting a temporary fix to get it open for citizens to travel over safely. Then planning that we are doing with regards to the dam, we're going to have to go in and do a permanent fix, what that fix will be we don't know yet."
The dam breached in 2008, in it's absence, the park below and two 4 foot culverts under Mill Creek drive become the reservoir for flood waters during major storms. At some point one of those culverts collapsed, displacing 40 to 50 cubic yards of fill under the road, and creating a sink hole twice the size of the Honda Pilot that fell into it Monday afternoon. A mother and two children were rescued from that vehicle.
Raines said yesterday "We're very fortunate we didn't have a more serious injury when it occurred. It's twice the size of a hole that it was yesterday and that erosion continues. So that has us a little bit fearful. We met with the Department of Fish and Wildlife, and were pleased to see State Representative Brian Blake here this morning as well to give us some input from their standpoint. Now we're going to get busy and get it reopened." Raines acknowledged that parents living above the closure take that route daily to drop their children off at the elementary school 3 blocks away, for at least the next two weeks residents will be detoured to Altenaeu.
Public Works Director Darrin Raines said Monday that the culverts under 5 streets from the park to the Chehalis river have been moving more water than they was designed to since the dam breached; "The lower part of Mill Creek Park is now basically a pond, and that never happened before with the dam. So now we've lost that flood control aspect, and that has created a lot more strain on these downstream culverts." Options being considered included the rebuilding of the mill creek dam, or culvert improvements to give the creek more room to swell under heavy rains.
Fish Biologist Amy Spoon with the Department of Fish and Wildlife said they would work with the city to get the road reopened quickly, and to get the dam problem fixed in the long run.