Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Long-term closure of the Chico Way on-ramp to southbound SR-3 starts this July

 By Doug Adamson

Construction on the SR 3 Chico Creek Fish Barrier Removal project is heating up. As soon as 9 a.m. on July 11, travelers near Bremerton will notice a big change at the interchange of SR 3 and Chico Way Northwest. The Chico Way Northwest on-ramp to southbound SR 3 will become a closed construction zone as crews realign the existing ramp. The ramp will remain closed for up to one year. During the closure, travelers will need to use alternate routes to access southbound SR 3. Variable message signs will be placed at the on-ramp for at least a week before the closure begins to remind people of the closure.

Why is the on-ramp closing?

Chico Creek and the unnamed tributary at Chico Way Northwest have five culverts that act as barriers to fish passage. Since the project began in fall 2021, our contractor, Guy F. Atkinson Construction, has been making progress on the construction of new bridges on Chico Way and SR 3. These bridges will create more space for both creeks. The work will improve fish passage and access to spawning habitat for many native fish species.

The Chico Way Northwest onramp to southbound SR 3 will close for up to a year as crews rebuild the onramp as part of a fish passage project.

To allow crews to continue work on the new bridges, we will close the existing on-ramp to southbound SR 3.

To access southbound SR 3 from Chico Way Northwest, people can continue south on Chico Way and join southbound SR 3 from Austin Drive (top). People can detour via northbound SR 3 and return to southbound SR 3 from Northwest Newberry Hill Road (bottom).

We will keep two lanes of traffic in each direction of SR 3 open during the long-term ramp closure. Crews will open the new realigned southbound SR 3 on-ramp once construction of the elevated Chico Way bridge is complete in spring 2023.
During this stage of construction, crews will shift traffic to the inside lanes of SR 3, close the Chico Way Northwest onramp to southbound SR 3, and realign the stream that flows under Chico Way Northwest.

Stay alert

Please keep our crews, yourself, and others safe by driving cautiously through work zones. We know detour routes and traffic shifts can take a little getting used to, so slow down, and stay aware so our crews can get this work done safely.

We understand this is at least an inconvenience for travelers, and we appreciate your understanding as we work through this major project.

What to expect next

Construction will continue through winter 2023. Once the project is completed, the SR 3 and Chico Way Northwest interchange will have two new bridges and new locations of the southbound SR 3 exit and on-ramps, creating more space for Chico Creek and the unnamed tributary and eliminating the need for culverts.

Once the project is complete in winter 2023, fish will have access to 21 miles of potential habitat and an improved connection to Chico Creek and Chico Bay.

Visit the project website for more information and to sign up for email updates.