Share this story...
creek, carnation, duvall
Latest News

Month long closure of Hwy 203 underway as state restores fish habitat

WSDOT replaced the old narrow round culvert channeling Langlois Creek, also on Highway 203, in 2018. It was one of about 1,000 culverts across the state that are mandated to be replaced. (Photo courtesy of WSDOT)

Highway 203 just south of Duvall is closed for the next month as the state replaces a blocked culvert, but the project could have taken longer if not for a new construction method.

Washington’s first diverging diamond interchange opening soon in Lacey

Daily drivers felt the sting of this closure on Monday, the first day of the closure. The road is closed just south of Duvall at Loutsis Creek. You can’t get south of 138th or north of Duvall Park, that’s adding significant time to get around.

“It’s a fairly heavily traveled highway during the commute hours,” said Tom Pearce with the Washington Department of Transportation.

The closure would have been weeks longer if the contractor hadn’t decided to use a construction method not seen on the West Coast before.

Workers will use super light fiberglass forms to build the new culvert, instead of large pre-fabricated girders.

“A 50-foot-long pipe that’s a foot in diameter that only weighs about 200 pounds,” Pearce said. “Just a couple, three people can handle it and put it in place.”

Under normal circumstances, the contractor would have to bring in giant girders and use large equipment to get the job done.

“We would normally have to build a large bridge abutment and then we’d have to bring in large, concrete girders, and that requires a lot of heavy equipment,” Pearce said.

The 5-foot wide blocked culvert is 40 feet under the highway, so workers will start by digging down to the creek bed before installing the fiberglass forms. This project should be finished by Labor Day.

There are hundreds of culverts like this around Washington that the state is required to fix to restore fish habitat under a federal court order.

Check out more of Chris’ Chokepoints.

Most Popular