US 12 - SR 8 - Grays Harbor County Fish Passage Barriers - Remove Fish Barriers

Project news

  • This project addresses multiple barriers to fish that travel under US 12 and State Route 8 between Montesano and east of McCleary in Grays Harbor County.
  • This is a Design-Bid-Build fish project, which means the contractor will help make design decisions which may reduce the overall traffic impacts to the public.
  • Construction is slated to begin summer of 2022 and last through fall of 2023. Any road closures will be announced in advance. Real time travel information is available.
  • Travelers are encouraged to sign up for email alerts.

Needs & benefits

This project will eliminate five identified barriers for fish and open potential upstream habitat for improved migration. Also, the work will simulate what is found in a natural stream bed.

Why is WSDOT correcting fish passage barriers under US 12 and SR 8 between Montesano and east of McCleary?

Correcting fish passage barriers is an important part of the state's efforts to protect and restore fish runs negatively affected by outdated culverts under state highways. 

In 2013, a federal court injunction required the state to significantly increase the state’s efforts in removing state-owned culverts that block habitat for salmon, bull trout and steelhead.

Replacing the outdated culverts with either bridges or fish passable structures will increase the likelihood of migration through the channels. Fish will be able to pass through creeks easier as the water will be slower, simulating a more natural creek environment.

In total, this project will replace five outdated culverts beneath US 12 and SR 8 that impede fish navigation:

US 12

  • M.P. 12.36 – Camp Creek
  • M.P. 17.56 – Unnamed Tributary to Wenzel Slough
  • M.P. 19.17 – Unnamed Tributary to Vance Creek

SR 8

  • M.P. 3.16 – Unnamed Tributary to Wildcat Creek
  • M.P. 9.10 – Unnamed Tributary to Mox Chehalis Creek.

Two of these locations will be corrected with bridges, and the remaining three sites with concrete box culverts for improved fish passage.

Due to the extensive work required, this project will occur over a two-year period. All in-stream work will occur during approved Department of Fish and Wildlife's "Fish Windows" to minimize impacts to aquatic species.

The End Result

The existing stream channels will be graded to simulate natural streambeds for improved fish migration as identified in WSDOT's federal court injunction. The work in all five locations will open up  several miles of potential upstream habitat for several fish species.


  • Summer 2021 – Project advertised for competitive bidding
  • Winter 2021 - Project awarded
  • Spring 2022 – Construction begins
  • Fall 2023 – Most work complete


Total project costs will be published once a successful low-bid contractor has been selected. 


Bill Elliott
WSDOT Project Design Engineer

Tina Werner 
Media Relations
WSDOT Olympic Region

US 12 and SR 8 Fish Barrier Correction Project