SR 202 - Little Bear Creek - Fish Barrier Removal - Complete October 2018

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WSDOT contractors built a buried bridge under State Route 202/131st Avenue Northeast over Little Bear Creek in Woodinville.

Needs & Benefits

The previous culvert that carried Little Bear Creek under the highway was too narrow. To flow under the highway, Little Bear Creek was funneled into an old culvert that was just 6 feet tall and 10 feet wide. As a result, the stream shot out of the culvert like a water hose, increasing the overall velocity of the creek and making it extremely difficult for fish to swim upstream to spawn.

The new bridge provides an opening that is 25 feet tall and 30 feet wide. Contractor crews also rebuilt the stream with natural materials and woody debris. This creates a slower-moving stream, and provides them with a habitat that provides areas to hide and rest. 

Improving this portion of Little Bear Creek will help efforts to restore fish runs. 

Buried bridge
To replace the culvert with a new bridge, contractor crews drilled 70 shafts into the ground and built new bridge piers. Once all the concrete shafts were in place, WSDOT closed the highway for a weekend in 2017 to place the bridge deck on top of the new piers and concrete shafts. This became the "roof" of the new culvert. After the bridge deck was placed, crews buried it underneath seven feet of dirt and then repaved SR 202. In the summer of 2018, the crews excavated all the dirt around the existing culvert to expose the piers and underside of the new bridge. The old culvert was demolished and the stream rebuilt. 

Fish barrier removal program
The Little Bear Creek culvert was one of more than 1,000 culverts subject to a 2013 U.S. District Court ruling that the state must remove culverts that block fish passage under state roads to restore historical tribal fishing rights.  


  • April 2016: Project awarded to Olson Brothers Excavating.
  • Summer 2016: Construction began.
  • Summer 2017: New bridge in place.
  • Summer 2018: Substantial completion of project.
  • Fall 2018 to spring 2019: Final planting and permanent highway marking.


  • The total estimated cost of this project is $8.9 million.
  • This project was funded through pre-existing funds. 


Northwest Region communications
15700 Dayton Ave. N. 
Seattle, WA 98133

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A small picture of Little Bear Creek under SR 202 in Woodinville
A look at the swift moving water in Little Bear Creek under SR 202 in Woodinville.

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A small picture of the west side of the Little Bear Creek Culvert under SR 202 in Woodinville
The west side of the Little Bear Creek culvert under SR 202 in Woodinville.

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