Local Information

Days of delays in Van Zandt this summer

Monday, July 1, 2019 - 14:27

Frances Fedoriska, communications, 206-440-4690
Gabe Ng, project engineer, 360-788-7403

Fish passage project expected to bring backups to State Route 9 in Whatcom County

VAN ZANDT – The time has come for the three small pipes under State Route 9 in Van Zandt to be ripped out and replaced. For too long the tiny passages have made it too difficult for young fish to reach miles of upstream habitat.

Next week, contractor crews working on the Washington State Department of Transportation’s Tawes Creek project will begin replacing the two smaller pipes near Everybody’s Store on Potter Road with 12-foot wide box culverts. Farther north near Williams Lake Road, crews will build a 20-foot bridge over Tawes Creek.

To help keep traffic flowing, crews built a temporary bypass lane near Everybody’s Store on the south end of the project area. Flaggers will alternate traffic on the bypass for up to two weeks this summer. To the north, a signal will alternate traffic while SR 9 is reduced to one lane for about one month. The 2,600 people who drive SR 9 through Van Zandt during this work should plan extra travel time, especially during the morning and afternoon commutes.

When this $5.5 million project is complete, the wider passages will reduce the speed water flows under the highway, making it easier for juvenile migratory fish such as salmon and trout to connect with about two miles of previously unreachable habitat.

Court ruling compliance

This new fish passage helps WSDOT fulfill a U.S. District Court ruling requiring the replacement of nearly 1,000 culverts blocking fish passage under state roads, which will help restore historical tribal fishing rights.

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