Site of SR 532 flood berm and bike/pedestrian path. (City of Stanwood)

Site of SR 532 flood berm and bike/pedestrian path. (City of Stanwood)

New berm will offer flood protection, views in Stanwood

The million-dollar project will protect a historic downtown stretch and will have a wide paved path.

STANWOOD — A quarter-mile berm will soon protect a historic business district in downtown Stanwood from the flood-prone Stillaguamish River.

Atop the berm, which will be between between Marine Drive and 92nd Avenue Northwest, a 10-foot-wide paved trail will connect bicyclists and pedestrians to the 88th Street park and ride. The trail will offer views of the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound.

Bids go out Dec. 11 for the million-dollar project. Construction is set to begin in early 2020, and will take about six months, according to city engineer Shawn Smith.

The Stillaguamish River has flooded downtown Stanwood somewhere in the company of three times in the past decade, Smith said. Each time, the city dumps dirt along the bank to stop water from coming across the highway.

That temporary berm kept water from draining off the road — which the state didn’t like, and made for dangerous driving conditions, Smith said.

The new flood berm will be a permanent solution.

The project has a second phase, which will connect the berm’s trail to the future Hamilton Landing Park, a two-acre parcel located just off Highway 532, at the confluence of the Old Stillaguamish Channel and Skagit Bay.

Stanwood funded the berm with a nearly $1 million county Public Works Assistant Fund loan. An $85,000 state grant paid for design and permitting.

The berm is part of a larger push to reduce the threat of flooding in downtown Stanwood.

Next is a multimillion-dollar effort to divert Stanwood’s stormwater from the flood-prone Irvine Slough, open the slough for floodwater management and make it easier for water to drain during and after a flood.

During floods now, “Stanwood becomes a bathtub,” Smith said.

Construction on the Irvine Slough project is set to begin in 2020.

The city also acquired land at the confluence of the Stillaguamish River and Skagit Bay, northwest of town, in 2018 so there will be better access to manage the levee system there.

Julia-Grace Sanders: 425-339-3439; jgsanders@heraldnet.com.

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