State, county unplug Gorst culvert

The in basket: My wife told me a few weeks ago the state had a bunch of heavy equipment down in the depression just on the Port Orchard side of the turnaround on Highway 166 that allows a driver to go back into Gorst after passing through it heading toward Highway 16.

Then last week I spotted a bunch of people in orange vests and hard hats in the same place, spreading straw around. I asked what the project had been.

The out basket: Duke Stryker, head of state highway maintenance here, said Kitsap County had called his attention to a blockage in the culvert that passes beneath Highway 16 there, which in turn was interfering with the county’s own storm drain systems uphill that feed into the state drainage.

So they sent out a machine that turned out not to be large enough for the job and wound up borrowing a larger excavator and a suction truck, plus an operator for both, from the county.

“They are great to partner with and it’s another example of when we need something, they are willing to help us,” he said.

The crew spreading straw was mostly inmates from one of the state Department of Corrections facilities near here, from which his crews often seek assistance for simple jobs.

Inmates also helped with an unrelated job just across Highway 166 within the last couple of years, when some young alders were cut down and removed, he said. The trees, which shade the highway and contribute to slippery conditions in cold periods such as this one, are easier to remove before they get too big, he said.

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