Wednesday, September 13, 2023

OOOHHHH, We're halfway there. …whoa ohhh. …soon we'll see fish everywhere

By Angela Cochran

UPDATE: The eastbound State Route 16 traffic shift has been rescheduled to the night of Friday, Sept. 29 due to weather. 

A project aimed to improve fish habitat in Purdy Creek under State Route 16 and the SR 302 Spur reached a major milestone in August. Our contractor reached the halfway point of the project at both locations.

To recap, crews are building new bridges which will replace old culverts that block fish migration under both highways in Purdy Creek. At the beginning of the project in October 2022, our contractor moved the westbound lanes of SR 16 into the median to build the new westbound bridge. On Aug. 15, 2023, the new bridge opened. Crews are now reconfiguring the median lanes in advance of moving the eastbound SR 16 travel lanes. When that work is complete, travelers on eastbound SR 16 coming from Port Orchard to Gig Harbor will see shifted lanes into the median.

At the end of September, eastbound SR 16 traffic will shift onto the reconfigured median lanes while a new eastbound bridge is built. The median lanes will be about 10 feet lower than westbound.

Slow ride. …take it safely

Crews expect to have the reconfigured eastbound SR 16 median lanes complete by the last week of September. On Sept. 26, we’ll have a rolling slowdown and lane closures on eastbound SR 16 while traffic is shifted into the new lane configuration. It’s important to note that the reconfigured median lanes will be about 10 feet lower than the new westbound bridge. A reduced speed limit from 60 mph to 40 mph will be in place so please slow down in the work zone as it will look and feel different. Our crews have seen numerous collisions in this work zone so the speed reduction is one way we try to combat that. Since the project began this past fall, 11 collisions have occurred within the SR 16 work zone and two at the SR 302 Spur. While thankfully the majority have not resulted in injuries, every collision has resulted in property damage. When that happens, we have to stop work for the investigation and make repairs.

A recent collision damaged guardrail on eastbound SR 16.

To keep people safe, we need everyone to stay alert and follow the posted speed limit. We ask all drivers in work zones to:

  • Slow Down – drive the posted speeds, they’re there for your safety.
  • Be Kind – our workers are helping to keep you safe and improve the roadways.
  • Pay Attention – both to workers directing you and surrounding traffic.
  • Stay Calm – expect delays, leave early or take an alternate route if possible; no meeting or appointment is worth risking someone’s life.

We have travel tools to help you plan your trips. If you haven’t already, download our app. Check the statewide travel map before leaving for real-time traffic and construction information. You can also sign up for email updates to get the latest information for roadwork in Pierce County.

SR 302 Spur update

While SR 16 still has another year of work, including the in-water work next summer, the work at the SR 302 Spur is on schedule to wrap up by the end of this year. Crews completed the in-water work in August. Following the in-water work, crews spent two days setting girders on the new bridge. The girders are the backbone of the bridge that supports the road.

A large crane was used to lift and place the 77-foot-long girders onto bridge shafts (10 girders were placed over two days in August). Once the girders were set, concrete was poured at the ends to lock them in place, then rebar and concrete will be added on top.

In the zone. …the riparian zone

The rest of the work at the SR 302 Spur includes completing the bridge construction and improving the riparian zone, which is the area where water meets land. Crews will add native plants to the area during the planting window this month. These plants will help the aquatic life in the riparian zone thrive by becoming a food source and providing nutrients to the soil and water. There is a large riparian zone at the SR 302 Spur location as the tides go in and out of Burley Lagoon.

A view of Purdy Creek through the riparian zone where multiple layers of special sand and sediment along with large tree stumps to prepare for planting have been set
This is near Burley Lagoon, seen here at low tide

The detour continues through December

If you have traveled through the area, you already know the SR 302 Spur is closed between Purdy Lane Northwest and 144th Street Northwest. Travelers detour around the closure along Purdy Lane Northwest. Because Purdy Lane is part of the detour, parking is not available on the shoulders. We understand that this road is used for overflow parking by students and staff from Peninsula High School. This means we have several months of school to get through before that option opens back up. We recognize this is an inconvenience however once work is complete there, we will repave Purdy Lane Northwest and parking will become available on the shoulder again.

A look eastbound at the detour route on Purdy Lane Northwest at the SR 302 Spur

We expect to complete the SR 302 Spur portion of the project in late December. SR 16 will be complete in the fall of 2024.

We appreciate the community’s patience throughout construction. We will continue to share construction photos on the project’s Flickr album and updates on the project web page.


Dick Day said...

Not sure if my original comment went through?
I'm very curious about the portion of creek that is still underground between the 302 Spur bridge and the Park-n-Ride. Quite a distance-is the pipe type and diameter sufficient to enable the salmon to get upstream of the Park-n-Ride or will there be additional projects on County property/ROW to further improve the creek passage?

WSDOT said...

Dick Day, thank you for your question. That is not a WSDOT culvert. You’ll want to reach out to Pierce County for that information.

WSDOT comment policy

Post a Comment