I-5 & SR 548 - Tributaries to California Creek - Fish Passage

Project news

  • Expect daytime lane closures in both directions of I-5 between SR 548/Grandview Road and Birch Bay-Lynden Road and at the SR 548/Portal Way intersection.
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Needs & benefits

Washington State Department of Transportation contractor crews have replaced culverts in two different waterways leading to California Creek in Whatcom County.

One series of culverts funnel a tributary to California Creek under I-5 near Willeys Lake Road and the south end of Grandview Golf Course. WSDOT contractor crews have replaced one culvert under the southbound lanes and one under the northbound lanes. Work continues at the Zell Road site.

The other barrier this project will correct is at SR 548/Grandview Road and Portal Way. At each location, the water runs too quickly through the culverts, making them impassable for migrating fish trying to reach spawning grounds.

WSDOT has long recognized the importance of minimizing transportation’s effect on our environment. In 1991, WSDOT gained legislative support to create a program dedicated to correcting barriers that restrict or block salmon and trout access to historic spawning and rearing grounds.

Removing these barriers can improve fish access to miles of upstream and downstream habitat. This is an important component of protecting and restoring fish populations in the Salish Sea.

Once this project is completed in fall 2020, 6.5 miles of additional spawning habitat will be accessible for migratory salmon, trout, steelhead and other aquatic species.

What to expect

This work will require lane or highway closures lasting about a week at each location. During these closures, travelers should plan ahead and allow extra travel time for detours or heavier traffic in one direction of I-5. Some of this work is weather-dependent.

SR 548/Grandview Road
August 24-29, the intersection of SR 548 and Portal Way will close to build a new culvert. A signed detour will be in place. Only local traffic will be allowed on Portal Way between Birch Bay-Lynden Road and SR 548, and north of Brown Road and SR 548. 


Winter 2019: Awarded project to Kiewit.
June 17-23, 2020: Southbound I-5 reduced to one lane 24 hours a day between Birch Bay-Lynden Road and SR 548.
July 13-19, 2020: Northbound I-5 reduced to one lane 24 hours a day between SR 548 and Birch Bay-Lynden Road.
July 13-23, 2020: Zell Road closed north of Willeys Lake Road.
August 24-29, 2020: The intersection of SR 548 and Portal Way closed.
Fall 2020: Construction complete.


Financial Data for PIN 100596K, 154800D
Funding Source Amount ($ in thousands)
2003 Gas Tax (Nickel Funding) $0
2005 Gas Tax (TPA) $0
Pre-Existing Funds (PEF) $8,898
CWA $2,588
Total $11,485


Tom Pearce

Mikkel Lamay
Project Engineer

A small map of the I-5 and SR 548 Tributaries to California Creek Fish Passage project areas.
SR 548 Tributaries to California Creek Fish Passage project area.