In 2006, heavy rainfall led to severe flooding in Index, Washington, a small town located in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. The flood waters washed out multiple sections of Index-Galena Road, rendering it impassable. Of the 11 sections that were damaged, 10 have been repaired. The 11th and final section to fix is the stretch of road between mileposts 6.4 and 6.9. In 2021, Snohomish County secured funding, created a design, and cleared all hurdles to put the final section out to bid. The project began in April of 2021 and is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.
GBI tackled this project head-on with a 425-day timeline that included winter shutdowns. The scope of work includes, and is not limited to, the construction of the new section of road, as well as the installation of 16 culverts, a vented ford box culvert, three geosynthetic reinforced walls, and a new 180-foot-long bridge. Additionally, GBI cleaned up the washed-out road, which involved the removal of culverts, asphalt, and concrete from an active water channel. The project site is steeply sloped and thickly wooded. To gain access to the site, GBI worked with a logging company to clear approximately 250 trees. Many of the felled trees will be used to build log structures and fish enclosures. Once the initial clearing was complete, GBI built a temporary access road from one end of the project site to the other and installed a temporary bridge over a stream.
Index is a second home to the marbled murrelet, an endangered seabird that forages in marine waters and flies inland to nest in old-growth forests. As a result, crews have abided by work hour restrictions to minimize the impact of construction activities on the nesting birds. Additionally, when this section of Index-Galena Road washed out in 2006, several hiking trails, campgrounds, cabins, and fishing spots became inaccessible and have remained off limits ever since. As the project nears completion, area residents and visitors look forward to once again enjoying these outdoor amenities.