DOT outlines expected detours for upcoming projects in Port Angeles

Portion of Highway 101 to be closed for fish barrier removal

PORT ANGELES — During construction of the Tumwater Creek fish barrier project in 2025, a portion of U.S. Highway 101 will be closed to traffic, Clallam County commissioners were told.

Steve Roark, the DOT Olympic Region administrator, spoke with Clallam County commissioners Monday.

Construction is expected to be from June 2024 to fall 2025, but the closure of Highway 101 would be only from February 2025 to June 2025, he said.

“And we do have a detour agreement in place with the city,” he continued.

City of Port Angeles spokeswoman Jessica Strait wrote in a Thursday afternoon email that DOT has a detour agreement with the city to use First Street/Front Street/Marine Drive for the detour for up to nine months.

“Closing the road significantly reduces the length of the project to replace the Tumwater Creek culvert,” she wrote.

Roark told the commissioners: “The detour, I think we originally had set this up for a very long duration. But our design-builder thinks they can get this work done with the detour; they think they can get it done in 80 days,” adding that probably would occur from February 2025 to June 2025.

“Now that could change a little bit, but that’s a good starting place right now as a placeholder for when we think that detour will be in place,” Roark said.

“We’ve had several conversations with the community about these projects. This is a design-build project where we are just selecting the design-builder.

“We have proposals in. I can’t share all of the details yet, but I will be able to in the near future,” he said.

Lee, Ennis creeks

When the fish passage projects at Lee and Ennis creeks get underway in fall 2025, the state Department of Transportation’s plan is to reduce U.S. Highway 101 through the construction zones by one lane in each direction for only 20 days, hopefully fewer, he said.

“We are planning on doing those projects concurrently,” Roark said. “Right now, very tentatively, we think that 20-day period or less will occur in October of 2025. That’s subject to change.

“I’m dealing with very preliminary schedules at this point. And we all know construction schedules can shift. But with what we know today, that’s the time frame we are targeting,” he said.

Roark said that, after looking at the traffic modeling and the lack of good circulation to get around that, right now DOT personnel think they can get it down to about a 20-day period with one-lane reductions in each direction.

“We are still working with the contractor to see if we can drive that number down even further. It’s a lot less than we thought we would have to do. More to come on that,” he said.

DOT is required to replace culverts for fish runs. Twenty-one Northwest Washington tribes asked the U.S. District Court to find that the State of Washington has a treaty-based duty to preserve fish runs, according to the agency’s website.

The court ruled in the tribes’ favor, requiring the state to refrain from building or operating culverts under state-maintained roads that hinder fish passage.

From March 2013 to June 2023, DOT has corrected 114 injunction barrier culverts and improved access to 502 miles of blocked salmon and steelhead habitat within the injunction area, the website said.

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Reporter Brian Gawley can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at brian.gawley@peninsuladailynews.com.

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