Washington State Department of Transportation plans to complete a couple of projects this summer along SR 530 that will cause some minor traffic delays for those traveling east from Arlington.
Work on culverts that provide a barrier to Trafton Creek and Schoolyard Creek will begin in late May.
“We’re replacing two barriers to fish passage, one at the Trafton Creek location and then another at the Schoolyard Creek location,” said Mikkel LaMay, WSDOT project engineer.
Those two projects are about four miles east of Arlington.
“We’re taking a small corridor and replacing it with a much bigger corridor to aid in fish passage to get the fish up to their habitat,” he said.
This work is partially in response to a 2013 U.S. District Court ruling that the state’s culverts must be improved to create a better salmon habitat.
“The Department of Fish and Wildlife does an inventory on all these culverts on their ability for fish to pass and these two in Trafton Creek and Schoolyard Creek have problems,” said LaMay.
Fish have trouble making the jump out of the water for the Trafton Creek culvert and the water is moving too fast for the Schoolyard Creek culvert.
Traffic will be routed onto a single lane bypass at each location.
“That will be controlled by temporary traffic signals,” said LaMay. “They can be adjusted as needed to accommodate traffic if more is coming from one direction than the other."
In late May workers will begin building the bypasses.
Traffic will begin to be affected when the Trafton bypass opens on July 1. It is expected to take longer and scheduled to be open until Sept. 16.
“It’s a deep gully down there and they've got to dig down about 50 to 60 feet,” said WSDOT public information officer Tom Pearce.
The Schoolyard Creek bypass is scheduled to be open from July 29 to Aug. 20.
The construction is expected to cost $12.7 million and those funds will come from WSDOT’s Fish Passage Program.
Another project further east on SR 530 is also scheduled for the summer near the Sauk and Suiattle rivers.
The $3.7 million project is funded by WSDOT with some federal funds as well, and is part of their CED (Chronic Environmental Deficiencies) program.
“This addresses areas that have been issues multiple times and affect fish,” said Shane Spahr, WSDOT project engineer.
The area requires frequent road maintenance, which is not good for the fish habitat.
Spahr said there will be one lane of alternating traffic through the work zone and to expect 5 to 10 minute delays.
Work for this project is slated to start shortly after the Fourth of July and is expected to be finished by the end of August.