600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

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June 29, 2015
Contact: Tamara Hellman (WSDOT), 360-905-2056
Ashlee Rudolph (WDFW), (360) 906-6732

Culvert project near Cathlamet
may delay anglers, other travelers

OLYMPIA – State officials are advising anglers and other travelers to expect delays on State Route 4 near Cathlamet this summer for a state project to replace two aging culverts beneath the highway.

The project site is located on a key route between Interstate 5 and fishing areas on the lower Columbia River, downriver from Longview.

Starting Monday, July 6, contractor crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) will prepare to remove the existing culverts, which connect the Elochoman River Slough to the Columbia River. Drivers can expect occasional daytime, single-lane closures on SR 4 at milepost 34 beginning Thursday, July 16.

In early August, crews will install automated traffic lights that will direct traffic through a single lane around the clock. Project managers expect the lane restriction to remain in place until sometime this fall.

“This project is located on a key route to popular fishing areas, so we are asking anglers to plan ahead,” said Lori Figone, WSDOT Kelso area engineer. 

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is partnering with WSDOT on the project, designed specifically to improve fish passage for juvenile salmon and steelhead.

Ashlee Rudolph, WDFW restoration manager, said new large box culverts will replace the existing culverts, greatly improving both fish passage and tidal flow to the spruce wetlands on the north side of the highway.

“The slough will provide a rearing area for juvenile salmon to grow and mature before they move into open water,” Rudolph said. “That translates into higher survival rates for juvenile fish.”

Project sponsors see benefits for salmon and steelhead from throughout the Columbia River Basin, not just those spawned in the Elochoman River. Those fish support a variety of fisheries, including the popular Buoy 10 chinook season that draws tens of thousands of anglers to the Columbia River estuary every summer.

The Elochoman River culvert replacement project is funded with $1.1 million from the Bonneville Power Administration and $1 million from federal and state funding.

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