Tag Archives: SR16

Gorst culvert work explained

The in basket: The impending work to replace the culverts that run beneath highways 16 and 166 in Gorst to allow Anderson Creek to flow better seems likely to be a traffic headache perhaps less than what has been happening in Seattle and Snohomish County, but significant.

I wondered exactly where the creek passes beneath the highways, knowing that the state had to unplug a culvert a few years back just on the Port Orchard side of the turnaround for those wanting to go back to Gorst. And, of course, I wondered how the state hopes to get that many cars through a work zone that will, of necessity, involve digging up the pavement.

The out basket: My recollection of the culvert east of the turnaround just clouded the issue, as the creek is west of there, on the other side of the turnaround. I notice there are even signs on the shoulder saying “Anderson Creek.”

Claudia Bingham-Baker, spokeswoman for the Olympic Region of state highways, says, “In this project, crews will replace culverts that run under SR 16, SR 166 and Anderson Hill Road near Gorst. The existing culverts, which are each about 5 feet in diameter, will be replaced with three 3-sided 18-foot-wide concrete box culverts.


“The work will take place between June and October, and the contractor is proposing to do the work in three stages.  Each stage will have a concurrent detour route.


“We expect the contractor to first tackle the culvert that runs under SR 166,” she said. “That work will require a several-week total closure of SR 166. We will detour traffic onto Tremont Street and Port Orchard Boulevard.  Local traffic will still be able to use SR 166, but only to the physical closure point.” That’s the same detour used whenever a slide closed 166 in the past.


“We think the next culvert will be one that runs under westbound SR 16,” she said. “During that work, we’ll detour westbound SR 16 traffic into the highway median with a reduced speed limit (of 35 mph) and we’ll keep the westbound direction of the SR 166 detour in place.


“We expect the last culvert to be replaced is the one that runs under eastbound SR 16 and Anderson Hill Road.  That culvert will require eastbound SR 16 to use the highway median, again at a reduced speed limit (of 35 mph) and a closure of Anderson Hill Road.


“Specific dates for all this work and the roadway closures will be forthcoming as the contractor gets mobilized on site” she said “Initial detour maps and other information about the project can be found on our project web site:  http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/projects/sr16/andersoncreekfishbarriers/

That Web site says work will begin in mid-July and says, “All in-stream work will occur in late summer through Oct. 15 to meet environmental requirements and accommodate fish windows.

“In 2013, a federal court injunction required the state to significantly increase the state’s efforts in removing state-owned culverts that block habitat for salmon and steelhead,” the site says.

It’s a $9.5 million project.

“Note the order of work and schedule are still preliminary and subject to change,” Claudia said.


Scotch broom infiltrating SR16 decorative medians

The in basket: I noticed during a series of trips to Tacoma and back recently that the median on Highway 16 along what I call the Purdy Bypass is particularly attractive, with flowering trees and other landscaping I must assume the state spend a good sum on when the highway was built. Some other stretches of Highway 16’s median are as nice.

But among the flowers in late May and early June was a tell-tale bright yellow, the blooms of scotch broom. They actually looked quite nice as an accent for the other plants while they lasted. But we all know what happens when scotch broom goes untended. You can see it blanketing the shoulders on either side of the nice medians.

The state finds it nearly impossible to eradicate scotch broom on its right of way, but I asked if the few plants that have gotten a toe-hold in an area the state evidently paid to make garden-like is something they try to remove.

The out basket: Claudia Bingham-Baker, spokesperson for the state highways here, replied, “Unfortunately, we don’t have dedicated resources to totally clear scotch broom from our right of way. We use our limited resources to clear scotch broom in areas where it limits sight distance or encroaches into travel lanes.

“In the area you referenced, the scotch broom actually serves the useful purpose of reducing the glare at night from oncoming headlights.

There’s a lot more about the state’s roadside vegetation program online at http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Maintenance/Roadside/.