A conclusion to the restoration of the Index-Galena Road appears to be in sight. 

Construction is scheduled to start next year on the last section that was washed out by a flood in 2006.

Finishing the project has been a county, state and federal effort. Project manager Larry Brewer reports construction alone will total about $20 million. The Federal Highway Administration Emergency Relief program is covering $16.5 million for design, engineering and construction costs.

Snohomish County, the Washington State County Road Administration Board and the Federal Land Access Program will cover the rest, according to Brewer.

“The new proposed alignment moves Index-Galena Road away from the floodplain and channel migration zone of the North Fork Skykomish River,” according to Brewer. “The new alignment crosses a stream and wetland which requires a bridge.”

The 180-foot Howard Creek Bridge replacement was constructed near milepost 6.9, according to Brewer.

“The relocated road would extend for nearly one mile, past the start and end of the originally damaged sections, which stretched from milepost 6.4 to 6.9,” according to Brewer.

The route, which parallels the North Fork of the Skykomish River, connects to homes, campgrounds and recreation areas, according to the Federal Highway Administration. The road also provides access to the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.

“The road was permanently overtaken by the flooded North Fork Skykomish River in November 2006 and has been closed ever since, inconveniencing local residents and limiting recreational access that is important to outdoor enthusiasts and the local economy they support,” according to the FHA. 

About 273 private parcels of land are established past milepost 6.9, according to Brewer, who cited the most recent data from 2015. About 57 had structures on them.

Right now, people who access the area have to use Jack Pass. The road is accessed off U.S. Highway 2 near Skykomish. The route isn’t plowed during the winter and is typically only passable in late May through early November, according to Brewer.

“The project would restore essential travel for property owners in the upper North Fork Skykomish River Valley, re-establish a vehicular route for emergency service providers and U.S. Forest Service staff, and reintroduce public recreational access to Mt. Baker Snoqualmie National Forest campgrounds and the Wild Sky Wilderness,” according to Brewer.

The county reports damaged roadway had to be removed. Work was restricted to minimize impact on species like marble murrelets and the spotted owl. Fish and wildlife habitat also had to be restored.

Construction on the final section is expected to begin this time next year, according to Brewer, and take three construction seasons to complete.

“We hope to have more information on the timeline in the fall.”