Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Finding salmon in Purdy Creek and opening the new SR 302 Spur bridge

CORRECTION: 4:15 p.m. Nov. 29, 2023
The SR 302 Spur is scheduled to reopen on Saturday, Dec. 2.

By Angela Cochran

As Gill said in Finding Nemo, “Fish aren’t made to be in a box, kid.” And even if many drains do lead to the ocean, fish may not be able to swim through some culverts along the way. Now, fish won’t struggle to pass under the State Route 302 Spur in Purdy.

Fish recently spotted swimming from Burley Lagoon into Purdy Creek and upstream under the SR 302 Spur

Our contractor closed the SR 302 Spur in April. The closure allowed crews to start building a bridge to replace an old culvert that was a barrier to fish. This past summer, we relocated the stream and blocked off the old culvert. Now, fish can swim freely between Burley Lagoon and Purdy Creek. And very soon, people will no longer have to detour around the construction. On Saturday, Dec. 2, crews will remove the detour and open the new bridge to traffic.

Getting back to normal on Purdy Lane Northwest

Once crews remove the detour, they will work to return things to the way they were before construction. This includes removing extra asphalt along the shoulders of Purdy Lane Northwest. Travelers can expect some nighttime lane closures while this work takes place. Then, crews will remove the “no parking” signs, and students and staff at Peninsula High School will be able to use that area as overflow parking again. We greatly appreciate the community’s patience and understanding while these temporary changes were in place. Our contractor also picked up trash throughout the area to leave a cleaner and safer route behind.

Before the cold weather and rain, crews paved the road leading up to the new bridge
and a portion of 144th Street Northwest.

More work to do

Even though the bridge will be open, we aren’t quite finished with the SR 302 Spur portion of the project. Crews still need to complete more paving work.  

While we’d like to pave now, the weather isn’t cooperating. If we paved now, we wouldn’t have a quality and long-lasting driving surface. This is due to temperatures and why you see most paving work during the spring, summer and early fall.

That means we will be back in the spring to finish paving the SR 302 Spur, Purdy Lane Northwest and some of 144th Street Northwest.

After that happens, crews will apply the final pavement markings. We’re also thrilled to open the new shared-use path on the new bridge at that time. The community asked for this, and we listened. We changed plans to create a protected shared-use path for people who walk or roll.  We are excited to offer this solution and greatly appreciate the community working with us.

People who walk and roll will have a protected path on the new SR 302 Bridge
when crews return in the spring.

Planning, designing and building a transportation system that includes access for all people including pedestrians and bicyclists is part of the Complete Streets requirement that was passed by the Washington State Legislature in 2022. However, this project was designed, advertised and awarded before the legislation was enacted.

Adding to the design is not something we are normally able to do during construction. But in this case, there is enough room on the new bridge to create the new protected shared-use path.

SR 16 update

While work is almost complete at the SR 302 Spur, there is another year or so left on the SR 16 portion of the project. Crews started working on the new bridge after moving eastbound traffic into the median lanes. They finished drilling the shafts a couple of weeks ago. The shafts provide the foundation for a new bridge. Workers are now building the walls, girders, and road features of the new bridge.

After moving eastbound traffic into the median lanes, crews started drilling shafts
that will support the bridge girders.

We expect to hit the next milestone sometime in the spring when we plan to set the bridge girders. The girders are the backbone and support the bridge deck. During girder setting, crews will close eastbound SR 16 to travelers for several nights with a detour around the work zone.

We’ll also be able to work in the water during the summer. That work will include relocating the stream and blocking off the culvert. It’s a similar approach to what we did at SR 302.

We expect to open the new eastbound bridge towards the end of 2024. We’ll be able to wrap up any remaining work after that to complete the project.

In the meantime, we will keep sending email updates on any traffic or schedule changes. People can also get real-time traffic information on the state-wide travel map or by downloading our app. Please remember to slow down and pay attention in the work zone. A lot of this work takes place at night, and our crews want to get home to their families safe and sound.