Fish in Purdy Creek will ‘just keep swimming’ after habitat improvements under the SR 302 Spur

Eight-month closure starting in April means detour and temporary parking changes along Purdy Lane Northwest

PURDY – Weather permitting, on Sunday, April 2 at 5 a.m., a section of the State Route 302 Spur, also known as Purdy Drive, will close between Purdy Lane Northwest and 144th Street Northwest for up to eight months. Contractor crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation will close the highway to remove a culvert that is a barrier to fish in Purdy Creek.

What to expect

During the eight-month closure, travelers will detour on Purdy Lane Northwest from 144th Street Northwest to the SR 302 Spur. A temporary signal at the intersection of 144th Street Northwest and Purdy Lane Northwest will keep people moving. During the project, parking will not be available on the shoulders of Purdy Lane Northwest.

Approaching the work zone, travelers will see a temporary speed limit reduction on the SR 302 Spur from milepost 15.85 to milepost 16.30. The speed limit is reduced from 50 and 40 mph to 25 mph for the duration of the project.

Why this is needed

The old culvert under the highway is challenging for native juvenile fish to navigate between Purdy Creek and the tidal flats of the Burley Lagoon. Crews will replace the old culvert with a 77-foot-long bridge structure. Wildlife biologists estimate this work will create approximately 6.5 miles of new habitat for fish.

In its journey to Burley Lagoon, Purdy Creek runs under SR 16 halfway between Gig Harbor and Burley. This project also replaces two 40-year-old culverts under SR 16 with large bridge structures that are 206 feet long.

Timing of work

Crews expect to complete the work on the SR 302 Spur by the end of 2023. Work began on SR 16 at Purdy Creek in fall 2022 and it will run through fall 2024. Both locations have specific time frames during the year when crews can perform work in the water. Weather and/or material delays can extend the overall construction schedule for each location. 

Improving fish passage

The construction is part WSDOT’s program to remove barriers to fish under state highways. Purdy Creek is home to native fish species including juvenile Chinook, coho, and chum salmon. Adult and juvenile steelhead, coastal cutthroat and sculpin are also found in the creek and nearby Burley Lagoon.

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