— Jessie Kwak (@jkwak) September 21, 2012
The sandbags, each approximately 1 cubic yard in volume and weighing about 1.5 tons, were installed to provide extra flood protection to the cities of Kent, Auburn, and Tukwila following the 2009 announcement by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that severe flooding was possible due to a damaged Howard Hanson Dam embankment.
The Corps announced last fall that the dam was once again operating the dam at full capacity, allowing the King County Flood Control District and the City of Kent to find a contractor — AGR Contracting, Inc — to remove the sandbags.
Trail users and county officials alike have been anxious to re-open the trail, which winds more than 19 miles from Cecil Moses Park near Seattle’s south boundary to North Green River Park in south Kent near Auburn.
“Removal of the sandbags means life is moving forward in the Valley,” said King County Flood Control District Chair Julia Patterson, in a July press release. “Bicyclists can once again enjoy full access to the trail, people who live here in the Green River Valley can return to their normal lives, and businesses in the Valley can get back to doing what they do best — keeping our regional economy strong.”
The bags are expected to be removed by the end of the month.