US 97 - Boundary Bridge - Remove Fish Barrier

Project news

The project is underway, and traffic was shifted to a bypass lane on June 26.  With the bypass lane in place, travel speeds are reduced to 50 mph and there is a 12 ft. width restriction through the work zone at milepost 159 near Swauk Creek campground.  These restrictions are in place at all times, including non-working hours, through the duration of the project.  Progress and traffic impacts are updated weekly on the WSDOT North Central Region Construction Update and Travel Advisory.

Needs & benefits

The current culvert on Swauk Creek is a barrier to salmon and trout due to its size - a 6-foot by 9-foot oval – with a 4-foot drop from the outlet down to the creek bed. It is by the Swauk Creek Campground about 5 miles south of the Blewett Pass Summit (MP 159.67) In Kittitas County.

Replacing the culvert with a concrete bridge opens up valuable spawning and rearing habitat to steelhead, cutthroat, and rainbow trout, as well as providing safe passage under the highway for animals such as elk.

We’re working in partnership with the Mid-Columbia Fisheries Enhancement Group, for additional stream restoration work to improve floodplain connectivity, fish habitat and restore vegetation.

Timeline

Construction began April 15 building a bypass travel lane on a widened shoulder.  No full closures of the highway are planned. Expect a posted speed reduction through the work zone. Flaggers will be used to control traffic as needed - no more than 20 minute delays.  Some work might require limited overnight flagging, as well.

Funding

This project is funded through the WSDOT Capital Improvement Environmental Retrofit program (I-4) to remove fish barriers under state highways. A contract was awarded to Nisqually Construction Services, LLC on November 16, 2018 for $4,244,497.84.

Contact

Brian Pearson, Project Engineer 509-667-2880
pearsob@wsdot.wa.gov

Location of the culvert being replaced south of Blewett Pass

Photo of the culvert that's been blocking fish passage