by Bruce A. Smith
A section of the Orting-Kapowsin Highway was closed Friday due to the actions of beavers, according to a press release from the Road Operations Division of the Pierce County Department of Public Works and Utilities.
Paul Marks, an official with Road Operations told the Mountain News that the roadway in the 28000 block of the O-K Hwy is partially flooded due to beavers building dams on nearby private property and backing-up local waters onto the roadway.
As a result, the county has closed the highway at 288th and 264th Sts, and has posted numerous detour signs, directing traffic all the way to Meridian Ave. However, local traffic was observed bypassing the signs to access properties in the restricted area.
Marks said that since sunny weather is expected this weekend, his agency anticipated the roadway being re-opened on Saturday as the waters recede.
A week’s worth of rain has pushed flood waters from adjacent pastures halfway onto both the northbound and southbound lanes of the O-K Hwy, just north of the dangerous “S” curve where the railroad tracks cross the highway.
There is a substantive volume of water on the road and in the area. Acreage is flooded on both sides of the road, and the drainage ditches on the highway are completely filled, creating a small pond-like environment that wildlife are enjoying.
In fact, a mother duck was seen leading her newborn ducklings onto the roadway and in the nearby bushes.
© 2012 Mountain News – WA
Addendum, May 5, 2012
Stretch of Orting-Kapowsin Highway reopened following temporary closure
The stretch of the Orting-Kapowsin Highway between 264th St. E. and 288th St. E. was reopened to traffic at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, May 5, after it was closed temporarily on May 4 due to localized flooding, the Pierce County Department of Public Works and Utilities announced Saturday afternoon.
The water has receded from the roadway officials declared, but they are recommending that drivers proceed with caution as the water levels adjacent to the road are higher than normal and rain continues to fall in the area. Crews will continue to monitor the site and respond as necessary.
Pierce County road crews closed the section at noon Friday. They continued to monitor the site into the weekend.