Tuesday, August 16, 2016

All in a weekend’s work: Southbound SR 167 fish culvert work compressed into one time-saving weekend

By Caitlin Morris

Waiting in the airport security line, getting cavities filled, and taking detours around closed highways—all are necessary activities that I’m sure you would prefer to avoid repeating for 30 days in a row. Well, we can’t help you with the airport or the dentist, but we can help with the detour. Our contractor crews working in Algona/Pacific on our SR 167 HOT lane project will save drivers 30 nights of lane closures by condensing their fish passage and paving work into one weekend. Nice!

During the weekend of Aug. 19-22, crews will close a portion of southbound SR 167 around the clock to repave nearly a mile of the highway and complete construction of a new 368-foot-long fish passable culvert.

To minimize impacts to drivers, crews have been building the culvert in stages, moving from east to west. Construction of the eastern half of the culvert began in June, and crews moved traffic around the construction site to avoid inconvenient highway closures. But now, we need to close the road for one last push to complete the culvert.

Closure Details
Southbound SR 167 will be closed Aug. 19-22
for a culvert replacement and paving job.
From 11 p.m. Friday, Aug. 19 to 5 a.m. Monday, Aug. 22, crews will close:
  • All lanes of southbound SR 167 between Ellingson Road and 8th Street East
  • The southbound SR 167 off-ramp to 8th Street East 
The culvert improvements are designed to help fish migration in Jovita Creek. The culvert’s water flow is too low and too fast for fish to swim in, and the culvert’s opening is too high for fish to jump into as they progress upstream. The improvements will help the Chinook salmon, coho salmon, and steelhead trout that use this creek to reach their needed habitat. During the job, workers will excavate enough dirt to fill more than 100 backyard swimming pools and will restore 920 cubic yards of streambed, the equivalent of almost 74,000 party-sized tubs of ice cream.

Closing southbound SR 167 for the culvert work also presents an opportunity to pave one mile of southbound SR 167, ensuring that crews are getting the most out of the highway closure. Crews will use nearly 10,000 tons of asphalt to pave the road, which is about the weight of the Space Needle.

Meanwhile, 18 miles north of our SR 167 closure, it’s the last weekend of work on the I-5 #SouthKingSlowdown.

Southbound I-5 lane reductions from South Boeing Access Road to Interurban Avenue South will begin at 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 19. By 10 p.m. Friday, traffic will be reduced to two lanes through 5 a.m. Monday, Aug. 22.

The off-ramp from southbound I-5 to SR 518 will remain open for drivers traveling to Sea-Tac International Airport and other destinations but if you’re headed to the airport, allow lots of extra time and consider alternate routes like SR 99 or SR 509.

Crews will finish installing this new fish culvert in Jovita Creek during this weekend’s SR 167 southbound closure.

What should drivers do?
While it’s great that we’re reducing the SR 167 closure to one weekend, that still could make this weekend challenging. It’s a good idea to leave early and plan ahead, especially if you’re headed to a special event. You can plan ahead by checking the Seattle and Tacoma traffic pages for updated traffic conditions, and also download WSDOT’s mobile app.

If you must drive through the work areas, follow the signed detour routes (pdf 378 kb). Remember to allow extra time to travel through the work zones or on alternate routes. To help you plan ahead, you can get the most up-to-date details and a full listing of closures by visiting the King County Construction page. You can also follow the hashtag #SouthKingSlowdown on Twitter for updates.

What’s ahead on SR 167?
Crews are on schedule to complete the remaining widening of southbound SR 167 between 37th Street Northwest in Auburn to 8th Street East in Pacific by fall 2016. At that time, the new lane will open to traffic as an HOV lane. Contractor crews plan to install toll equipment by early 2017. When the project is complete, the lane will operate as a HOT lane.