SEASIDE - The Oregon Department of Transportation is working on a project to lessen flooding along Highway 101 south of Seaside. The plan will also benefit the environment, including wildlife in the area.
The plan calls for the removal of a berm alongside the Necanicum River.
Every winter, heavy rain coupled with high tides cause the river to overflow its banks.
The berm on the west side of the river keeps the flood water from flowing into a natural flood plain there.
The barrier was built back in the 1970s, when developers hoped to build homes on the flood plain.
Since then, Highway 101 has flooded several times every year.
Some of those times, ODOT has been forced to completely shut down the highway.
“The impact is significant ... at times there is no vehicle passage here so if somebody in an emergency had to go to the hospital, you’d be prevented from doing so,” said Doug Ray, an ecologist overseeing the project.
ODOT, in partnership with the North Coast Land Conservancy which owns the land, will start work this summer to remove the berm.
They say, not only will the $700,000 project benefit drivers, it will also benefit wildlife by restoring the floodplain to its natural state.