Monday, August 7, 2017

Pack a little more travel time into your Camano Island camping plans

By Andrea E. Petrich

August is a beautiful time to camp – or glamp - here in Washington. The weather is hot and dry and water has actually warmed up enough that chickens - like myself – will spend more than a few minutes enjoying the cool down.

If you’re hitting a Camano Island state park, other campground, rental property or your own home to enjoy some time on the beach, plan ahead for a State Route 532 closure beginning 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 11 and lasting for approximately two weeks.
Church Creek, where the SR 532 closure will happen, is just east of the Stanwood Haggen.

Our contractor crews from Strider Construction will close the highway to install a new, larger culvert under the highway just east of the Stanwood Haggen.
Crews will replace the current culvert with a larger one to improve stream flows for salmon, trout and other aquatic species.

The work is part of a $6 million fish passage project to help restore the creek bed to a natural state and improve fish passage for salmon, trout and other aquatic species. The crew has already built a temporary bypass road that will help detour traffic during this work.

Tent camper?

Those with precise packing skills who are able to fit family and stuff in a passenger vehicle will have a short detour around this closure.
  • Westbound travelers will go right on 36th Avenue Northwest, left on 268th Street Northwest and connect back to SR 532 before the Haggen/Stanwood Camano Village shopping center through the temporary bypass road.
  • Eastbound travelers will curve left to the temporary bypass road from SR 532 east of 72nd, continue on 268th Street Northwest, go right on 64th Avenue Northwest and turn left onto SR 532.

Travelers will want to remember that this detour takes you along county roads with lower speed limits and rural family homes so please, slow down and be aware of people leaving driveways, plus children and pets that might be in the area.

Going for the glamping weekend away?

If you drive an RV or long 5th wheel with a wide turning radius, you’re going to want to take the truck detour during this closure.
  • Trucks, RVs and other big vehicles will use I-5 to exit 221, travel west on SR 534 toward Conway, through the roundabout and south on Pioneer Highway.
  • This detour will add about 10 miles to most trips.

Trucks, RVs, glampers and others with vehicles that require a wide turning radius should use the detour through Conway.

Leaving all your motorized vehicles at home?

Cyclists heading to or from Stanwood or Camano Island can use the detours mentioned above, but should be prepared for higher traffic volumes on narrow roads.

We don’t know the exact date the closure will end due to uncertainty over a pipe location and how the groundwater might affect the excavation, but we’ll keep travelers updated on the work through our social media accounts and through Island County emails. We’ve worked closely with the community to balance this closure between allowable environmental dates and big events in the area.

What everyone should know, no matter what your camping style:
  • Plan for delays in or out of Stanwood or Camano Island by allotting extra time into trips.
  • Follow the posted speed limits. Most passenger vehicle detours are 35 mph and the temporary bypass is a 25 mph road.
  • Know that the detour routes will be busy and drivers could be sharing the road with cyclists.
  • Share this closure information with friends and neighbors.
  • Check for updates throughout the closure on the WSDOT north Twitter account.
We know not everyone trying to hustle up the kids and dig up the camping gear - that may have been tucked away since last summer – is focused on road closures. If you know someone heading this way, please spread the word. While the detours will get everyone where they need to go, it might take a little bit longer. We don’t want you to be late for the start of that annual horseshoe tourney you and your friends throw every year!