Monday, July 24, 2023

US 101 to close north of Quilcene for 22 days

By Mark Krulish

Summertime is in full swing. You’re probably excited to hit the road for an adventure accompanied by the sun and clear blue skies.

There are plenty of great places to choose from, such as the Olympic Peninsula. You’ve probably already heard a lot about the work we’re doing there. We have a lot of fish barriers to replace, bridges to build and safety improvements to make. Most recently, we announced dates for a project near Sequim that will create long traffic backups for a week during the daytime.

One of the great scenic routes on the Olympic Peninsula is US 101 along the Hood Canal. And if you’re headed that way this summer, here’s your heads up – you’ll need to take a detour north of Quilcene in Jefferson County.

The project

We’re in the midst of a culvert replacement project at Leland Creek and two of its unnamed tributaries. At Leland Creek, just north of Lords Lake Loop Road in Jefferson County, we’re replacing a barrier to fish with a brand new bridge.

As you can see in the “before” photo below, the culvert here is inadequate for fish migration. The road here is currently under one-way alternating traffic controlled by a signal. It will remain that way until approximately Aug. 23.

The culvert at Leland Creek will be replaced with a larger structure to allow for better fish migration.

The project will also replace two more culverts underneath the highway north of the new bridge over Leland Creek. The culverts will be replaced with larger fish-passable structures that will allow for easier fish migration through the waterways that feed into Leland Creek.

US 101 Road closure

To replace the culverts, the highway will be closed around-the-clock to all traffic between Leland Cut Off Road and Lords Lake Loop Road from approximately 9 a.m. Monday, July 31 to approximately 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 21. A detour around the closure will be on Center Road.

Travelers will see US 101 is closed, but open to local residents only. Please note this is done for the residents in the area. However, you won't be able to get through. Entire sections of the highway will be excavated. Follow the detour route and trust the signs. They're there for your safety.

To maintain that access for local residents within the closure, the culverts will be replaced one at a time. Work will begin July 31 and continue through Aug. 11 at the northern tributary crossing near Leland Cut-Off Road, which is approximately milepost 290.3. From Aug. 11 through Aug. 21, the culvert at the southern tributary will be replaced at approximately milepost 291.8.

In addition, State Route 104 will have a speed reduction from 60 mph to 35 mph between mileposts  4.08 and 4.62. A temporary traffic signal will be installed at the intersection of SR 104 and Center Road to control traffic.

Freight traffic will need to use this detour during the US 101 Leland Creek closure.

Weight restrictions

Near the southern end of the detour, traffic will have to drive over the Little Quilcene Bridge. That’s no problem for most regular vehicles, but the bridge does have weight restrictions for commercial and freight.

During the US 101 closure, larger vehicles will need to use a detour using SR 3 and SR 104.

Vehicles that do not meet these restrictions will have to take a different detour. Instead of using US 101 along the Hood Canal, you’ll have to take State Route 3 and SR 104 between Shelton and the Hood Canal Bridge to get around the closure.

Freeing the fish

If you’re a regular reader and traveler of our roads, you know we’ve ramped up our efforts in recent years to correct all of these barriers to fish under our state highways. This project replaces three culverts under US 101, which will open up the waterway and improve access to 14 miles of spawning habitat for Chinook, coho, steelhead and bull trout salmon.

These barriers hinder fish from moving upstream or downstream and returning to their spawning grounds. The culvert and pipes underneath our roads don’t work well for fish. Although water may flow through them, it may not be enough to allow fish to swim. Culverts may also have water that flows too fast or too slow. In some cases, the jump into the pipe or culvert may be too high. Fish migration is important to the environment and the Olympic Peninsula economy. We continue to monitor these restored fish passages long after construction is completed to ensure they are working as intended.


burg said...

I'm wondering if fish passage will be opened up at Lake Leland. Both the inlet and outlet to the lake is blocked. The outlet has a fish weir plus beaver dams blocking passage and the inlet is blocked at the culvert with a big beaver dam. The old timers told us of fish spawning in the creek on our property at corner of 101 and Leland Valley Rd. E. - at least two and probably three different runs and the lake possibly a nursery. I'm quoting Joe Kawamoto and Hector Munn from at least 30 years ago when they were over 80. Our son was catching small cut throat in the creek thirty years ago before culvert was blocked. I'm hoping this passage will also be opened.
Mary Burge

jvt said...

I would like to know what the status is on the culvert on my property. It was scheduled over a year ago and I now put cattle back on it and can't get any update from the people who sent me letters and pictures.Your Site ID 991213 mile 9.6 Thanks

Bruce and Jenna said...

First map has axles misspelled "axels"

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