Project adds 9.3 miles of habitat for salmon, steelhead and trout
AUBURN – There is good news for travelers who use State Route 164 between Auburn and Enumclaw. The highway reopened today just east of the White River Amphitheater after a 95-day closure to build a bridge over Pussyfoot Creek.
Contractor crews from Auburn-based Rodarte Construction, Inc., working for the Washington State Department of Transportation, needed a few extra days to finish the bridge and reconnect the highway between Auburn and Enumclaw due to supply chain issues.
"This closure was a big challenge because so many people rely on SR 164 and many more live along the detour we needed to use," WSDOT Project Engineer Mike Askarian said. "We appreciate that everyone cooperated to help us finish this project on budget."
Crews needed to dig out more than 40 feet of fill material and remove an 11-foot diameter culvert that carried Pussyfoot Creek under the highway. They then built bridge supports and placed girders for the 172-foot-long bridge, paved the surface and installed the barriers. While the bridge is open, Rodarte still has some work to do along the highway. People using SR 164 should keep an eye out for flaggers controlling traffic during the day in that area.
An open road for fish too
The old culvert under SR 164 made it difficult for fish to continue upstream. Removing that channel allowed crews to build a natural stream bed for Pussyfoot Creek, opening an additional 9.3 miles of habitat for coho salmon, steelhead and coastal cutthroat trout. It also allows the creek’s resident fish and marine life to move more freely.
As of 2021, the WSDOT fish passage program statewide has had more than 365 projects and has opened more than 1,200 miles of upstream habitat for migratory and resident fish. The additional habitat provides more area for salmon, steelhead and other migratory fish to spawn, increasing the number of fish that go to the Salish Sea.
The $11.8 million SR 164 Pussyfoot Creek culvert replacement project is funded for by the Connecting Washington transportation package approved by the Legislature in 2015.