We shifted SR 530 near milepost 59.5 away from the Sauk River to protect the roadway and drivers from the river. We completed the project in fall 2011.
SR 530 is very close to the Sauk River, and the river has threatened repeatedly to wash away the roadway during floods. Even though attempts to stabilize the bank with large rock have been somewhat successful in the past, they were not an adequate long-term solution to the problem.
This section of highway is what we call a Chronic Environmental Deficiency (CED). Chronic environmental deficiencies are locations along the state highway system where recent, frequent, and chronic maintenance repairs to the state transportation system are causing impacts to fish and fish habitat.
Relocating the highway improves safety for the approximately 980 vehicles that use the highway daily. Trucks make up 15 percent of the traffic, as the route serves as a primary route for trucks carrying timber products. The highway serves as an emergency access route for the Sauk-Suiattle tribe, and provides access to private property in the area as well as to recreational areas along the corridor.
| Protects Environment
Realigning the highway reduces the effect of the highway as a barrier to the natural hydrodynamic processes of the Sauk River, relieves aquatic species and habitat of some of the effects of armoring, and reduces the need for in-water work.
| Economic Incentive
Each year, the constantly shifting Sauk River threatened to collapse the roadway. Since 2003, we had spent in excess of $6 million on SR 530 between MP 50.0 and 65.0 to address conflicts between the highway and the Sauk River. Recent emergency repairs had been completed at MP 59.3, MP 59.4, and MP 64.4, with bank stabilization projects as well at MP 59.2 and MP 55.5.
Without further action, the highway was vulnerable to collapse due to further erosion by the Sauk River. Rather than continuing to perform repetitive repairs, tribes and regulatory agencies requested that we consider moving the entire highway (or considerable portions of it) to avoid trouble spots.
Partnerships & Cooperation
In 2002, we established a partnership (Memorandum of Agreement) with the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW) to move away from the repetitive repair of WSDOT roads and instead, concentrate on long-term solutions that will optimize the improvements for fish and fish habitat, while also addressing transportation needs.
The Sauk River is recognized as a Wild and Scenic River under the jurisdiction of the United States Forest Service. Because of that, we have worked closely with tribes; federal, state and local agencies; property owners; and other stakeholders through one-on-one interviews and working group meetings. We concluded realigning the highway at MP 59.5 was the most beneficial next investment to address conflicts between SR 530 and the Sauk River. Read the SR 530 Sauk River Corridor Study (pdf 1.2 mb).
Communications Dustin Terpening
1043 Goldenrod Road, Suite 101
Burlington, WA 98233-3415
Project Engineer Shane Spahr
1415 Pacific Drive
Burlington, WA 98233
back to top