The almost annual flooding of Bald Hill Rd. at Yelm Creek usually occurs in the wettest months of January and February. With record rains earlier this month, Bald Hill Rd. between Morris Rd. and Harris Rd. was again closed several times last week due to high waters. The flooded area of Bald Hill Rd. is within the Yelm city limits and the city needs to fix this. Dredging under the Yelm Creek bridge and raising the roadbed or placing walls adjacent the road for about 200 feet in that vicinity would eliminate this situation. When flooding forces the closure of Bald Hill Rd., this requires many school buses, commuter traffic and delivery vehicles to detour via Vail Rd. The Vail Rd. & Hwy 507 intersection is particularly dangerous, especially when making a left turn northbound from Vail Rd. to westbound Hwy 507, as anyone who has navigated this corner can attest. Thurston County has had to put a staffer there at times to handle traffic at this dangerous intersection.
With the the Puget Sound Climate Study highlighting more intense rain events for our area and the impact this places on commerce, especially school buses, hasn’t the time arrived for the Yelm City Council to address this issue, described here in previous winters.
From the Puget Sound Climate Study:
“But the way South Sound cities and towns have developed around predictable slow rains and summer snow melts has begun to show signs of strain, and the study’s authors say the situation is expected to worsen.”
“The study found that a higher percentage of the the region’s annual precipitation is arriving in short, high-intensity storms, which dump water faster than drainage systems were built to handle.
“The heaviest 24-hour rain events in the Pacific Northwest will intensify by 19 percent, on average, by the 2080s,” the study states.
Flooding isn’t just a municipal-infrastructure problem, said Guillaume Mauger, the study’s lead author,” by Derrick Nunnally, Tacoma’s News Tribune.