A recipe only Mother Nature could create – 34 inches of snow in six days in the mountains followed by a 20 degree increase in temperature. Add these elements together and you get major flooding in and around the Yakima Valley. As local residents scrambled to save their property from the overflowing Naches River, the work of WSDOT and Scarsella Brothers last fall helped to prevent one area from being destroyed by the river, a one mile stretch of highway along westbound US 12.
Last October, WSDOT and Scarsella Brothers finished the $3 million project, which moved the Naches River away from US 12, and constructed rock and log structures adjacent to the highway to protect the roadway from eroding. Crews moved more than 30,000 tons of rock to build the structures to protect roughly 2,700 ft of the river.
The new structures were put to the test shortly after the project was completed. In January, 2009, the Naches River rose 17 ft, which is considered flood stage, and the high waters inundated the rock and log structures, just as the engineers had planned. The man-made structures kept the power and force of the raging river away from the bank and the roadway. As the water receded the structures remained intact, ready for future floods.
The US 12 Naches River project kept the river from eroding the highway during the January 2009 flooding.
After the water receded, the rock and log structures were still intact and ready to protect the roadway from future floods.