Second of two new I-5 bridges near Mount Vernon opens Monday, June 12
(MOUNT VERNON)– Salmon and steelhead are getting closer to gaining access to more than 17 miles of fish habitat near Mount Vernon.
Nearly 13 months after beginning construction, contractor crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation will open the second of two 110-foot-long bridges that span Fisher Creek Monday, June 12, barring rain. Crews completed the southbound bridge last fall.
Once they open the northbound three-lane bridge, crews will shift traffic from temporary bypass lanes back to the original alignment. The speed limit will remain 60 mph in the area for a while longer while they remove the bypass. Crews will later remove the old culvert and rebuild the creek bed starting in August. Some areas will be planted this fall.
“We’re really excited to finish the second bridge and wrap up a project with such a positive effect on fish migration in the area,” said WSDOT Project Engineer Shane Spahr. “Though drivers may think the project is finished after we move them onto the new bridge, we still need them to drive carefully across the bridges while we finish off a few more tasks on our to-do list.”
The Fisher Creek culvert is one of 475 culverts across western Washington that must be removed by 2030 due to a 2013 U.S. District Court ruling requiring the removal of state-owned culverts that act as a barrier to fish. The old, rusty culvert did not channel water deeply enough during certain times of the year, while allowing water to flow too fast at other times.
The $8.8 million project is funded through a combination of the Connecting Washington package and pre-existing funds.