Along the North Fork Skykomish River, you will find the charming small town of Index, Washington. Named for nearby Mount Index, which is just a few miles south, the town is located in the foothills of the majestic Cascade Mountain range, off U.S. Highway 2, 90 miles northwest of our home office in Wenatchee.
When heavy rainfall led to severe flooding in Index in 2006, flood waters took out multiple sections of Index-Galena Road. All of those sections have been fixed, with one exception: The portion of road between mileposts 6.4 and 6.9.
That’s where GBI comes into the picture.
Fifteen years after the flood event, Snohomish County was able to secure funding, create a design, and clear all hurdles in order to put the last piece out to bid. Once the project is complete, the public will have access to the hiking trails, cabins, fishing spots, and campgrounds that have been off limits for the past 15 years.
GBI is tackling this project head-on with a 425-day timeline and winter shutdowns. The project officially started in April of 2021 and will complete by the end of 2023. Project Manager Dennis Diteman is determined to complete this job as early as possible with the help of Superintendent James Nolte. Dennis is pushing to have all major work items completed in the 2022 season, at a minimum.
The project location is heavily sloped and thickly wooded, which posed an initial challenge. GBI had to tackle this first in order to gain access to the project site. With the help of a logging company, GBI was able to clear approximately 250 trees. Many of them will be reused in various log structures on the site, as well as in the river for fish enclosures. Once the initial clearing was complete, GBI was able to create a temporary access road from one end of the project to the other so the crew could start the major work. Along with creating the temporary access road, GBI also installed a large temporary bridge over a stream.
The scope of work includes, and is not limited to, the installation of a vented ford box culvert, which was completed in the 2021 working season; three geosynthetic reinforced walls that will be completed in the 2022 working season; 16 culverts throughout the project that include stream diversions during construction; and a new 180-foot bridge that required four six-foot diameter drilled shafts ranging from 70 to 110 feet in depth. The drilled shafts were completed by Malcolm Drilling in the 2021 working season and the bridge construction will continue in the 2022 season. A new road will be constructed from beginning to end; the goal is to have the paving completed by the end of the 2022 season. GBI has also finished the majority of the cleanup of the washed-out road, which included removing culverts, asphalt, and concrete from an active water channel.
This is an incredibly unique job that requires more precision than production, at times. There are also work-hour restrictions due to an endangered bird species that lives in the area, the Marbled Murrelet. This limits when the crew can start and stop working each day.
With the help of GBI, the public will once again be able to experience the natural beauty that surrounds the town of Index.