Tag Archives: Anderson Creek

NK culvert replacements on tighter schedule than SK’s

The in basket: Bob Corbin of South Kitsap wonders about the pace of work on replacing the culverts that allow Anderson Creek to pass beneath highways 16 and 166 in Gorst.

Crews seem to be working only regular weekday hours, he said. Given the traffic disruptions, he would have expected the work to continue into the evening and weekends.

The out basket: Claudia Bingham-Baker, spokeswoman for the Olympic Region of state highways, says the contract for the culvert replacement states only the number of work days allowed to complete the work, with interim deadlines for each of the three culverts associated with the road closures. It  leaves it up to the winning bidder how to schedule it.

In a separate reply to a North Kitsap resident about similar work to replace culverts in the Kingston area this summer, she wrote, in part, “Work (there) will be going on day and night, and people who live nearby should expect to hear night construction noise. We apologize in advance for that disruption, but we wanted to minimize the time the highway would be closed by tightening the construction schedule as much as possible.”

I asked why the tighter construction schedule near Kingston and not near Gorst.

Claudia replied, “When WSDOT designs a project and includes a construction timeframe, we try to balance several issues, including available resources, inconvenience to the public, project costs, quality control, permit requirements, etc. Faster is not always better, as there can be a point of diminishing returns when too many people and too much equipment get in the way of each other.”

“We could force contractors to work around the clock by shortening roadway closure times, but that kind of work schedule greatly increases project costs both for contractors and state staff overseeing the work. Those increased costs get transferred to higher contract bids and more expensive projects.

“This particular project also has the added complication of in-water work restrictions that limit when the contractor can be working in the stream. We looked at all these factors and developed the contract with the conditions that we believe reflected the best approach.”

I saw work going on at the Gorst project in the evening Friday and on Saturday, July 22 and 23, so the contractor seems to have picked up the pace, for whatever reason. And I thought the replacement of the first two of the three Anderson Creek culverts went quite quickly. Still, Claudia says the entire Gorst project is expected to extend into November.

She didn’t say so, but I’d guess the close proximity of the Kingston ferry run, one of the state ferries’ busiest, had a lot to do with the greater pressure for haste there. At least that’s the reason the project was limited to five weekdays for the first of the three culverts there, the one at Grover’s Creek, to avoid the heavy weekend ferry traffic.

Reader sees no creek in new Anderson Creek culvert

The in basket: Larry Mann writes, “In a dozen trips to look at the Gorst salmon project, I see not one drop of water flowing anywhere near the elaborate concrete culvert they are installing.

“How can there be a salmon creek there if there is no water flowing there? My back property line is a salmon creek and it has 12-18 of water in it all summer and 18 to 36 in it in the winter time?

“Absent flowing water at the construction sight ,what I see in Gorst is a very high dollar waste of taxpayer dollars supposedly to protect a fish that has survived 4,000 years before humans came on the scene to be their savior.

“How do you explain the fish dilemma, the lack of water on the project, and lastly are the salmon dying in the bay as we speak because there is no culvert or more importantly no water in this alleged high profile salmon creek?”

The out basket: It wasn’t easy, but I found a place to park on the shoulder of the newly reopened Highway 166 and I walked to where I could see the remaining but soon-to-be-removed culvert through which the creek passes under the eastbound lanes of Highway 16.

There was a steady flow of water (I couldn’t tell the depth) exiting the pipe, evidence that Anderson Creek does exist. I couldn’t see across to where the new culvert under Highway 166 has been built, but clearly the creek still is reaching Sinclair Inlet somehow.

Claudia Bingham-Baker, spokeswoman for the Olympic Region of state highways, said this about Larry’s observation: “You are right that water is not currently flowing in the new culvert being installed at SR 166. Our fish culvert projects are built in one of two ways: 1) installing a new culvert in dry land and realigning the stream into the culvert after it’s built; and 2) using cofferdams to restrict water flow in the streams while adjacent culvert construction occurs.  In the SR 16/SR 166 project, we are using both methods to replace the three culverts.”  Method 1 was used in the completed culvert.

“As regards spending money to improve access to fish habitat,” she added, “all I can say is that we are following the law and correcting environmental deficiencies introduced by our forefathers who unknowingly built inadequate culverts. The emphasis on environmental stewardship has changed over the years as people have gained an understanding of how manmade structures and activities affect wildlife.”