Nine-day closure of SR 516 in Des Moines begins Sept. 15

Courtesy of Washington State Department of Transportation

A full closure of State Route 516 for nine days in Des Moines begins Friday, Sept. 15, while crews work to replace a failing culvert that blocks fish passage on Barnes Creek.

Contractor crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation will close the highway near 16th Avenue South around the clock from 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 15, until 9 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 24. A signed detour will be in place during the closure.

This project along Barnes Creek is part of WSDOT’s 2030 Fish Passage Delivery Plan to open 90 percent of habitat blocked by culverts beneath state highways. Since the program started in 1991, the state has corrected hundreds of barriers and restored access to more than 1,000 miles of fish habitat.

Barnes Creek runs beneath SR 516 just west of 16th Avenue South through a 2-foot-wide clay culvert that is starting to fail. The narrow pipe is a barrier for fish trying to swim upstream. Active Construction Inc., will replace the small clay culvert with a box culvert that is 20 feet wide and 9 feet tall.

That new culvert will open nearly a mile of potential upstream habitat for coho, resident trout, steelhead and sea run cutthroat. Crews will also place rocks, woody debris and other fish-friendly natural features in the Barnes Creek streambed.