SR 11 - Hoag's Creek - Fish Passage

Project news

  • WSDOT is working with the city of Bellingham Parks and Recreation Department to acquire a permanent easement near this project site south of Fairhaven to operate and maintain this culvert. The easement is on an unimproved forested portion of park property. Submit any questions or comments to Melissa Ambler, WSDOT project engineer or Leslie Bryson, Bellingham parks and recreation director.
  • WSDOT will advertise this project for competitive bidding in December 2019.
  • Construction will start in summer 2020. Crews will close SR 11/Chuckanut Drive just north of Old Samish Road for two weeks in summer 2020 to safely complete this work.
  • Construction will not affect access or use of the Interurban Trail.

Needs & Benefits

Hoag’s Creek runs under State Route 11/Chuckanut Drive near the junction with Old Samish Road in Bellingham. The current 24-inch concrete culvert is too small and too high from the surface of the creek, which is blocking movement of fish, such as coastal cutthroat trout and steelhead. Contractor crews will replace this barrier with a 12-foot round culvert that will allow fish and other aquatic species to use nearly a mile of habitat upstream for the first time in nearly a century.

WSDOT has long recognized the importance of minimizing transportation’s effect on our environment. In 1991, WSDOT gained legislative support to create a program dedicated to correcting barriers that restrict or block salmon and trout access to historic spawning and rearing grounds.

Removing a single barrier can improve fish access for miles both upstream and downstream. When rivers and streams are connected, fish can better access the habitat they need. This is an important component of protecting and restoring fish populations, which can have multiple benefits - including for the commercial and recreational fishing industries and for orca food supplies in the Puget Sound.

What to expect

Contractor crews will close SR 11/Chuckanut Drive for approximately two weeks in late July or early August of 2020 to remove this fish barrier and install the new culvert. This closure will affect drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians. Construction will not affect access to the Interurban Trail. Environmental regulations require this work to be done during a six-week window when fish migration is least likely. Before this closure, crews will alternate traffic and bicycles through the area as they prepare for construction and stage equipment.n  After this closure, crews will alternate traffic and bicycles through the area as they complete construction and remove equipment.

WSDOT recognizes that this highway is a popular summer route and is working with city of Bellingham, Visit Bellingham, neighbors, businesses and the cycling community to share information on this extended closure, avoid large events and communicate the detour route.

Timeline

December 2019: Advertise project for competitive bidding
Winter 2019/2020: Award project to contractor
Summer 2020: Start construction
Late July/early August 2020: Two-week closure of SR 11/Chuckanut Drive during a low fish migration window
Fall 2020: Project complete

Funding

The current estimated total project cost is $3.4 million. Funding will come from the Connecting Washington transportation package and other federal and state sources

Contact

Andrea E. Petrich
Communications
360-757-5963
Andrea.Petrich@wsdot.wa.gov

Melissa Ambler
Project Engineer
360-788-7406
AmblerM@wsdot.wa.gov

A small map of where Hoag's Creek runs under SR 11 in Bellingham.
A map of where Hoag's Creek runs under SR 11 in Bellingham.

A small photo of the current culvert that Hoag's Creek runs through under SR 11.
A photo of the current culvert that Hoag's Creek runs through under SR 11.

A small photo of where Hoag's Creek runs under SR 11/Chuckanut Drive.
A photo of where Hoag's Creek runs under SR 11/Chuckanut Drive.