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Lower Coal Creek Flood Reduction

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The King County Flood Control District has provided funding to the city to address flooding issues in the Newport Shores neighborhood. The city is working with an engineering team and in conjunction with Newport Shores residents to develop a project with two components to reduce flood risks. The first component will reduce Lower Coal Creek flooding and the second will reduce street flooding.

Lower Coal Creek Flood Reduction Project Map
Map of Project Area

Flooding in Newport Shores   An existing Lower Coal Creek culvert

Status Updates

The city and the engineering team have done a substantial amount of field work and preliminary design to move forward on the Lower Coal Creek flood reduction project. The following information provides additional details about this work.

Schedule of Activities
The Lower Coal Creek flood reduction effort will follow this schedule:

  • 2015 – 2017: Design, easement and permit acquisition.
  • 2017 (or 2018) – 2019: Construction of new bridges (culverts) and stormwater outfalls.

Reduce Creek Flooding

To reduce the risk of flooding from Lower Coal Creek and to better allow for fish passage, the city will construct new bridges at the five creek crossings in the neighborhood. These new bridges will better allow the passage of creek water, reduce the chance of debris getting clogged, and eliminate the partial fish passage barrier that currently exists at Cascade Key.

Status Update (June 2016): The engineering team has reached the 30 percent design phase for these bridges, but they are still evaluating some of the bridge features based on the feedback provided at the May 11 Open House (see “Public Involvement” below). They have also completed the environmental studies needed to prepare federal, state and city permits. Federal permits for these bridges were submitted to the Army Corps of Engineers on June 10, 2016, with state and city permit submittal following later in the summer. Permits are expected to be issued at the end of 2016 to coincide with completion of the final design for the bridge at Upper Skagit Key.

Previous Updates (winter 2016): There are many new federal, state, and local safety and design standards that have come into effect since the original bridges were constructed, which may affect the project footprint. For instance, these standards may require:

  • Raising the road elevation to provide more assurance that flood flows can pass unimpeded under the new bridges;
  • A wider bridge opening across the channel (about 24 feet) to comply with current fish passage design standards; and
  • Wider sidewalks across the bridges, improved safety railings, and pavement striping.

Other design challenges include structurally weak soils under the bridges, which complicate the design of the bridge foundations. The engineering team is working to address all of the safety and regulatory requirements while still designing the bridges to be compatible with the neighborhood. These factors have lengthened the design and permitting schedules for these bridges, and may affect the future construction schedule.

The (map at right) shows the properties at each road crossing that the city will need to work with for successful construction of these five bridges. The green indicates where temporary Right of Entry (ROE) agreements have been signed to allow technical specialists access to private property to conduct field investigations. The red indicates where these temporary Right of Entry agreements have been requested but not yet received.

Lower Coal Creek Right of Entry Map

Reduce Street Flooding

To help reduce flooding in the streets during heavy rains, the city is planning on rerouting stormwater away from Lower Coal Creek to Lake Washington. To do this, the city will need to construct new stormwater outfalls into Lake Washington. 

Status Update (June 2016): The City is continuing to meet with property owners along Skagit Key whose properties are the best candidates from multiple standpoints to make the new outfall project a success. The City also had a meeting with the Newport Yacht Club in early June 2016 to discuss the possibility of routing one of the stormwater pipes and outfalls through the Club’s property.

Previous Updates (winter 2016): In January 2016, a group of technical specialists with expertise in storm drain design, soils, construction, landscape architecture, and biology evaluated potential sites for these new outfalls. Thank you to all the residents who allowed these professionals on their properties to conduct evaluations. Based on the information gathered during these evaluations, the engineering team is completing a feasibility analysis to assess ways of potentially connecting the existing drainage system to these proposed outfalls. 

Public OutreachLower Coal Creek Open House Participants

The City is committed to working with residents throughout the design, permitting and construction phases of this effort.

Status Update (June 2016): On May 11, 2016, nearly 40 Newport Shores residents attended an Open House to learn about, provide feedback on, and ask questions about the Lower Coal Creek Flood Hazard Reduction Project and other infrastructure efforts in Newport Shores (see photos). Thank you to the Newport Yacht Club for hosting the event and to everyone who attended this public forum and shared their thoughts (see this map of residents who participated).

During this Open House, City of Bellevue Utilities staff and engineers were stationed at five different tables that focused on: (1) New Bridges; (2) New Stormwater Outfalls; (3) Information for Streamside Property Owners; (4) Sewer System Testing; and (5) Traffic Safety at the Entrance to Newport Shores. Residents were able to provide suggestions and input regarding these projects so that the engineering teams can take them into consideration as they continue to develop the bridge designs. Below are the posters and other materials from this Open House:

In addition, throughout the summer of 2016, the City is planning on having in-person conversations with property owners whose properties might be affected by the construction of the outfalls and first bridges. Other public outreach is being planned for future stages of the project. This will include updates to this webpage, updates in the Newport Yacht Club Association’s newsletter, as well as future community forums and potential field trips.

Previous Outreach: The City of Bellevue hosted a booth at the City’s Spring Forward Expo in April 2013 and had meetings with the Newport Yacht Club Association in October 2013 and March 2014. The City of Bellevue hosted a Public Forum on May 12, 2014 at the Newport Yacht Club to hear the public’s thoughts on potential alternatives.

Other Lower Coal Creek Efforts

Residents who want to receive notifications about severe weather or other emergencies should subscribe to a new Regional Public Information and Notification (RPIN) system set up by King County. The system can send you emails, voicemails, and/or text messages during an actual emergency. If you have questions about the system, please contact Cory James, Team Supervisor, at 425-577-5580 or cjames@norcom.org.

Project History

Below is an overview of the history of the Lower Coal Creek flood reduction effort.

Fall/Winter 2013 Engineering study of existing conditions; initial contact with public.
Winter/Spring 2014 Alternatives analysis, public involvement.
2014 Select preferred alternative(s); finalize pre-design and details of preferred alternative(s);   community meeting to discuss preferred alternatives.
Winter/Spring 2015 Selection of engineering design team.
Summer/Fall 2015 Contracting and field investigations.
Fall 2015 / Winter 2016 Preliminary bridge design.

How can I stay informed?
This webpage offers the most up-to-date information on the project. Additional materials and project information will be posted on the site as the project develops. For more information, please contact:

Bruce Jensen
Utilities Engineering Project Manager

Frequently Asked Questions (Updated June 2016)
Contact Information

P.O. Box 90012
Bellevue, WA 98009
Contact: Kit Paulsen
Phone: 425-452-4861
E-mail: KPaulsen@bellevuewa.gov

Customer Assistance

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