The Washington Department of Transportation officially announced that starting Thursday March 30, crews will close the intersection of State Route 8 and State Route 108 to all traffic.
This is the start of 2 years of work in the area to improve fish passage through Wildcat Creek.
Claudia Bingham Baker with WSDOT told KXRO in October, “it will be closed the entire two years for safety reasons.“
”The reason we’ll close the SR 108 access to/from SR 8 is because the traffic realignment that will occur during the two years makes that access point more difficult for drivers turning onto SR 8. To decrease the potential for collisions, we chose to close the access altogether.”
WSDOT has been working to remove fish passage barriers for years, following a lawsuit by Washington tribes to protects and preserve salmon runs.
The state is required to “significantly increase the effort for removing state-owned culverts that block habitat for salmon and steelhead” by 2030.
During the closure, drivers will be detoured through the Mox Chehalis Road overpass 2 miles east as the fish barriers are removed and replaced with four new bridges carrying both directions of the highway.
On Monday, April 10, crews are set to reduce SR 8 in the area to one lane in each direction, moving both east and west traffic to one side of the highway, and reducing the speed limit from 60 mph to 45 mph.
According to a statement;
“Impacts to traffic are expected to be minimal, however during clam tides and hot summer weekends, drivers are advised to expect short delays.”
Both the intersection closure and lane restrictions will be in place around the clock through summer 2019.
The changes will allow work zones to build new bridges for the fish passage project to improve the flow of Wildcat Creek under SR 8.
Why is WSDOT correcting fish passage barriers under State Route 8 in McCleary?
WSDOT has a responsibility to be a good environmental steward. WSDOT will replace outdated culverts under State Route 8 to improve fish passage for Middle and East Fork Wildcat Creek.
Replacing the culverts with new full span bridges will remove fish-passage barriers and open fish habitat. Fish will be able to pass through this portion of the creek easier as the water will be slower. and the bridges will span a more natural creek environment.
The existing culvert carrying Middle Fork will be replaced with two bridges that are approximately 110 feet long.
The existing culvert carrying East Fork will be replaced with two bridges that are about 160 feet long.
Due to the extensive work required, this project will occur over a two-year period. All in-stream work will occur during an approved timeframe to minimize impacts to fish.
The End Result
This project will improve fish habitat by slowing the velocity of the streams at the culvert sites.
The existing stream channel will be graded to simulate a natural stream bed. The work in both locations will open up miles of potential upstream habitat.
This project will eliminate barriers for fish and open potential upstream habitat.
The work will simulate what is found in a natural stream bed.
What is the project timeline?
Dec. 2016 – Project awarded to Ceccanti, Inc
Spring 2017 – Project begins construction
Summer 2019 -Project complete