QUILCENE — Quilcene-area drivers will be inconvenienced during much of the year beginning Friday as the state Department of Transportation installs a bridge on U.S. Highway 101 and replaces two box culverts to improve fish passage in Leland Creek and two unnamed tributaries.
The work to replace three culverts with a bridge and two box culverts will be near Leland Valley Cut-Off Road about five miles north of Quilcene.
The $12.8 million project begins Friday when a construction crew will erect a temporary signal and build a two-lane bypass around the construction site on Highway 101 just north of Rice Lake Road, according to a press release from the state Department of Transportation.
Once the signal is in place in mid-February, it will control around-the-clock one-way alternating traffic, the release said.
The bypass likely will open around mid-March, and once that is in place, traffic will move onto the bypass while remaining one-way alternating, controlled by the signal, according to the release. It will remain in place for an estimated four to six months.
The new girder bridge at Leland Creek (milepost 292.5) is scheduled to be complete in July just as the fish window opens. Then the Highway 101 closures at the unnamed north and south tributaries will occur for three to four weeks between mid-July and Aug. 19.
At the north tributary (milepost 290.3), the contractor will remove two existing 40-foot-long by 6-foot-wide cement concrete box culverts and replace them with a single fish-passable cement concrete box culvert measuring 64 feet by 18 feet.
At the south tributary (291.8), the existing culvert pipe will be replaced with a fish-passable cement concrete box culvert.
During this time, traffic will detour around the work site via Center Road and state Highway 104 to continue north on U.S. 101.
During culvert replacement, all traffic will detour with reduced speeds around the construction site via Center Drive (beginning at Bowen Street) and Highway 104 to continue north on Highway 101.
Freight haulers will need to detour via Highway 101, state Highway 3 and Highway 104 due to weight restrictions on the Little Quilcene Bridge.
Tractor-trailers with three axles or fewer over 23 tons will need to follow the detour route. Commercial freight haulers with up to seven axles over 36 tons also will be directed to follow the detour route.
Closure dates will be announced once they are available.
The new bridge at Leland Creek will open 14 miles of upstream habitat to improve fish migration. The new box culverts at the north and southern tributaries will produce nearly 4 miles of upstream habitat.
The construction is part of DOT’s program to remove barriers to fish under state highways due to a federal injunction that affects an estimated 1,000 fish passage barriers.
One hundred barriers have been replaced with another 400 expected by 2030.
Reporter Brian Gawley can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.