Crews swap culverts for bridges at three creeks on West End

Work to begin next year near Sequim

KALALOCH — Crews wrapped up work to remove fish barriers at Steamboat Creek north of Kalaloch in Jefferson County.

On Monday, contractor crews working for the state Department of Transportation removed the one-way alternating traffic signal on U.S. Highway 101 at milepost 12.6 near Kalaloch, the department announced in a press release.

Since early July, the temporary signal directed travelers around the work zone while crews removed the remainder of an old box culvert and improved the stream bed.

This signals the end of a project to remove barriers to fish migration at three creeks under portions of Highway 101 on the West End.

Fisher, Harlow and Steamboat creeks used to flow through culverts under portions of the highway, but often those older culverts were too small and impeded fish travel, DOT said.

Crews replaced each culvert with a new bridge over the waterways, allowing more space for fish to move through the water. Workers also improved stream beds to assist all life cycles of fish, DOT said.

Work on the $24.7 million project began in 2019.

In 2023, work is expected to begin on an estimated $41.6 million project to replace culverts at six locations on Highway 101, with bridges proposed at five of the locations, near Sequim in Clallam County and extending into Jefferson County.

The locations are between mileposts 267.18 and 277.90 and affect Johnson Creek, two unnamed tributaries to Sequim Bay, Chicken Coop Creek, Eagle Creek and Contractors Creek, according to information from DOT’s website at wsdot.wa.gov.

Rather than a bridge, Eagle Creek will be corrected with a new concrete box culvert, DOT said.

The work is part of ongoing efforts to remove barriers to fish and opening more spawning and rearing habitat to fish.

DOT is under a 2013 federal court injunction to remove state-owned culverts that impede salmon migration in much of Western Washington by 2030.

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