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King County Sheriff orders temporary closure of portion of the Cedar River near Maple Valley
King County Sherriff John Urquhart has ordered a temporary closure of a two-mile stretch of the Cedar River from Cedar Grove Road SE to SE Jones Road (River Mile 11.45 to River Mile 9.5) beginning today. The closure is between the reaches known as Rainbow Bend and Belmondo between Maple Valley and Renton. Hazardous conditions that threaten the safety of recreational users prompted the closure, in effect until further notice.
River closure signs are placed at the closure area directing boaters and floaters to exit the river at the take out at Cedar Grove Road SE on the left (south) bank.
Only the King County Sheriff can close a King County river. Individuals found entering the closure area can be issued a warning or be fined by King County Sheriffs.
Several trees that have fallen into the river at this reach, in addition to two major flood-risk reduction projects beginning construction, prompted the closure to protect public safety.
Flood-risk reduction projects at Rainbow Bend and the Belmondo reach will involve extensive in-water work including excavation and the placement of rock and wood in and adjacent to the river. Although the work will be completed from the banks and the contractors will install temporary structures to isolate the work areas, the operation of heavy equipment in and over the water presents risks to recreational users.
River users should be aware during this hot weekend that the water is still very cold from winter snowmelt and lower flows can reveal new obstacles such as branches, wood and rocks that were moved around by winter storms creating very dangerous conditions. River users should always scout ahead before putting crafts in the water.
“Our rivers in King County are cold, even in summer months, and river currents are powerful. Obstructions such as logs and rocks create natural hazards throughout our rivers. Always wear a lifejacket and plan for a safe, sober journey,” said Sheriff Urquhart.
For more information about known river hazards in King County, river safety tips, lifejacket discount coupons and drowning prevention information go to www.kingcounty.gov/riversafety.