Thursday, October 20, 2022

Keeping people moving while building a new SR 3 bridge for Chico Creek

By Doug Adamson

How do you build a bridge while vehicles drive across it? It seems impossible – but contractor crews for the SR 3 Chico Creek Fish Barrier Removal project are making it reality.

Our contractor, Guy F. Atkinson Construction, has been making steady progress to remove barriers to fish at Chico Creek by constructing new bridges on Chico Way and State Route 3. These bridges will create more space for Chico Creek to flow underneath the highway and improve fish passage and access to spawning habitat for native fish species.

Video via Guy F. Atkinson

Crews are building the bridge in phases to avoid major traffic disruptions on SR 3 near Bremerton. At the start of the project in fall 2021, they shifted northbound and southbound traffic to the outside lane and shoulders of SR 3 to create a work zone in the median. This allowed them to construct the center portion of the new SR 3 bridge.

What to expect

As soon as early November, traffic will shift onto the newly built center portion of the bridge and move the work zones to the outside lane and shoulders of northbound and southbound SR 3.

Our crews will keep people moving through the area by keeping two lanes of traffic in each direction. They will install a permanent barrier to divide the northbound and southbound lanes. Once the shift is in place, people will notice they are driving on the center of the roadway. The reduced speed limit through the work zone will remain at 45 miles per hour.

During Stage 2 construction, traffic will shift to the inside lanes of SR 3, close the Chico Way Northwest on-ramp to southbound SR 3, and realign the stream that flows under Chico Way Northwest.

What’s next

Project construction will continue through winter 2023.Once completed, travelers will use the new on-ramp and exit locations for SR 3 at Chico Way Northwest to access the two new bridges. This will create more space for Chico Creek and the unnamed tributary and eliminate the need for culverts.

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

Chico Way work

In addition to SR 3, crews also have worked to remove barrier to fish on Chico Way at the interchange. This has included building a new bridge that carries Chico Way over an unnamed tributary to Chico Creek. In this instance, we built a new path for the tributary which will feed into Chico Creek. Logs and root wads were added along the water. The wood provides a dual purpose. It helps stabilize the hillside while providing habitat for fish. The design is intended to benefit fish at every lifecycle.

A new and improved path for small unnamed creek which feeds into Chico Creek

Heads up, phone down

Please keep our crews, yourself, and others safe by driving cautiously through work zones. We know traffic shifts can take a little getting used to at first, so slow down and stay aware so our crews can get this work done safely. Visit the project website for more information and to sign up for email updates.

The bridge being built on SR 3 near Bremerton. The span will eventually carry the highway over a rerouted portion of Chico Creek.